Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani urges women to take risks

After losing a congressional run and founding her own nonprofit, Saujani says women need to be unafraid of their own ambition.

Failure is part of the deal.

Reshma Saujani wants women to fail. Well, not exactly, but in her book “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line,” Saujani makes it clear that women who take risks and fail big are the ones who are going to end up changing the ratio for women in all fields of leadership.

Saujani isn’t a stranger to failure herself. The book opens with an arresting depiction of the day after her unsuccessful run for Congress in New York in 2010. She rolls out of a bed surrounded by unopened celebratory champagne, plagued by her loss. The anecdote aptly sets up the lessons the book imparts about taking risks and embracing failure in order to achieve more.

“I think the thing is, if you haven’t failed enough you haven’t tried anything,” says the Yale Law graduate and founder of the nonprofit Girls Who Code. “It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be sad and question yourself and figure out if there’s another way, but as women we have to be OK with not taking the easy way out.”

Saujani says the book began as an exercise to move on from the loss of her congressional run and became a soothing resource. The advice she gives stresses authenticity and ambition, suggesting that women need to do more than just lean in. She says they need to hire women whenever possible so that professional networks can grow. (With pride, Saujani says that Sheryl Sandberg has been a big supporter of hers.)

“We need some more fairy godmothers, women who are going to create opportunities for each other,” Saujani says. “Men do it all the time — they see it as part of their obligation to figure out who’s going to be the one to take their place.”

For Saujani, her legacy as a public servant isn’t as clear as her intention to enact change for women. Overall, she says she’s optimistic.

“We have this generational divide. You see these young women who are impatient, that are brazen and forward-thinking. How do we continue to embrace that?” she asks, hoping her readers will find the answers.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…