GWC Summer Speaker Series ft. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton: “Don’t give up, and don’t give in.”
Our Summer Speaker Series brings leaders and activists together with our CEO and Founder Reshma Saujani to have conversations about bravery, activism, and tech, broadcast exclusively to our girls.
We’re so grateful to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton for joining this Summer Speaker Series. We’re especially grateful to her for reminding us of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” We hope all of you take that to heart.
Check out more of what we learned from her conversation with Reshma.
ON BEING THE FIRST
Here we are, it’s 2020 and there are still a lot of internal biases and obstacles holding women back, making us feel that we can’t always go as far as our hard work and talent will take us. It’s not easy. Like Secretary Clinton said, “we’ve knocked down a lot of the laws that have stood in the way of girls and women, but what remains are cultural bias or social norms that whisper, ‘you don’t belong.’”
Reshma asked how the Secretary, with such an amazing legacy of “firsts” built up the kind of resilience that you need to be the first, to break down these barriers. Secretary Clinton said, “You have to believe in yourself — not in an arrogant way, but in a matter of fact way. And that takes a certain internal resolve.” Some people, under so many circumstances, face unimaginable barriers. Just don’t give up, she said, don’t give in. You are better than sometimes ever you yourself think you are.
TAKE CRITICISM SERIOUSLY, BUT NOT PERSONALLY
Perfection will haunt us and hold us back. Reshma and Hillary both agree on this point. And they agreed that it especially holds women back. Women are less likely to apply for jobs they’re not qualified for, more likely to drop out of a class if they don’t get a perfect A, more likely to feel burdened by the pressure to be perfect.
Secretary Clinton said something that really resonated with us, and that’s that we should “take criticism seriously, but not personally.” We should welcome it and learn from it, but be wary of it knocking us down and keeping us down.
WOMEN ARE NATURAL BORN LEADERS
One of our students watching, Victoria, asked: “How can a young female of color overcome systemic injustices and prejudice when pursuing a career where females are marginalized?” First off, we’re so glad you asked this question, Victoria. Thank you for your bravery.
Secretary Clinton responded and said, “First of all, pursue the career. Just because others haven’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You can be both a trailblazer and a successful professional. But you have to go in with your eyes open!” She said, when she ran for President, she knew she was a first — so she made a point of over-preparing, coming up with techniques to keep her going, surrounding herself with people who she could count on. And we want you to know that, when you need people to lean on, you’ve got your Girls Who Code community right by your side.
And our last question for the Secretary? “What app would you create and what problem would it solve?” She would create an app called THE GOLDEN RULE APP to encourage people to treat others the way you want to be treated. Where do we sign up?
Huge thanks to Secretary Clinton, and of course, to Reshma for having this conversation!
The Girls Who Code Summer Speaker Series is a set of conversations between Girls Who Code Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani and leaders and activists broadcasted exclusively to girls enrolled in our Virtual Summer Immersion Program. Girls have the opportunity to listen in to a fireside chat and then to ask their own questions about bravery, leadership, and tech. To find out more, read our press release here.