The One Mistake All Women Make When Choosing A Career

Reshma Saujani founded the tech organization Girls Who Code, which went from 20 girls in New York to 10,000 girls in 42 states. She wanted to close the gender gap in tech, and she’s started to make waves towards doing that – which is amazing.

But what’s even more amazing is her recent TED talk, ‘Teach girls bravery, not perfection.’ An interesting concept, when was the last time you were truly brave? Reshma believes that most women pick careers that they know they’ll excel in because they’re safe.

“So many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they’re going to be great in, that they know they’re going to be perfect in, and it’s no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A’s.”

Boys are the brave ones, she argues, the rough-and-tumble ones, while girls play safe. Because that’s what we’re told.

She tells a story about how she ran for congress, defied odds and put money, time and effort into her campaign. But she didn’t win. The same newspapers that said she was a rising political star, now said she wasted 1.3 million dollars on only 6,231 votes. She was humiliated.

But that’s the point.

“I tell you the story of how I ran for Congress because I was 33 years old and it was the first time in my entire life that I had done something that was truly brave, where I didn’t worry about being perfect.”

And even when we’re ambitious, even when we’re leaning in, that socialization of perfection has caused us to take less risks in our careers. And so those 600,000 jobs that are open right now in computing and tech, women are being left behind, and it means our economy is being left behind on all the innovation and problems women would solve if they were socialized to be brave instead of socialized to be perfect.”

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photo: Atlantic-Pacific

  • Camille Beygui

    Awesome post

  • Jen

    Inspiring. Needed this today! Definitely going to be listening in while I make my way through the work day! <3

  • Anne

    Probably a nice article…but such a pity I can’t read it because of an aggressive pop-up on your blog for your Academy, which I can’t click away as far as I can see! You shouldn’t use these things because they bring your blog so much down!