By Zoe Donaldson
When running for Congress in 2010, Reshma Saujani campaigned in "some of the country's wealthiest zip codes and some of the poorest," she says. She eventually lost the race, but not before noticing the awfully small number of female students with access to computer science classes, no matter the neighborhood. "In America, girls typically don't score as high in math and science as boys," says Saujani, 37. "But in many other countries, that is not the case. I can still buy a pink T-shirt here that says 'Math Sucks.'"
She knew that young women should be prepared to enter the tech industry, especially since IT jobs are forecast to jump about 22 percent by 2020. So in 2011 she founded Girls Who Code, asking: "If you give girls technology, how can they change the world?"
Last summer she got her answer. For eight weeks Girls Who Code hosted 20 New York City high schoolers, who learned robotics, HTML, and app design. She realized that with these tools, girls excel in computer science and tend to develop technology with an altruistic mind-set: an algorithm to detect cancer; a Web site to teach computer skills in 32 languages.
This summer the nonprofit -- now partnered with tech giants like Google and Twitter -- also held programs in San Francisco and Detroit, inching Saujani closer to what she dreams of: "a woman to build the next Facebook."
Editor's Note: For more information, check out HuffPost's Girls In STEM Mentorship Program. Join the community as we discuss issues affecting women in science, technology, engineering and math.
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Alexandra Chong -- Founder and CEO of Luluvise
Chong is the founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.onlulu.com/" target="_blank">Luluvise</a>, which <a href="http://www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk/lifestyle/shopping/interviews/alexandra-chong/14650" target="_blank">The Good Web Guide </a>described as a “male database which allows female users to shame or praise potential dates, exes or simply men they know." It's more colloquially known as a "Yelp for Men" and, according to <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/17/rate-the-date-online-lulu-app-lets-women-review-hookups/" target="_blank">Time</a>, has been downloaded over 75,000 times.
Poornima Vijayashanker -- Founder and CEO of Bizeebee
Bizeebee helps fitness studios and other membership based businesses across the world grow. According to <a href="http://bizeebee.com/about-us/" target="_blank">Bizeebee's website</a>, Vijayashanker was inspired to start the company after consulting with local businesses looking to improve their management practices. She is also a dedicated athlete -- she practices Bikram Yoga and runs half-marathons.
Leah Busque -- Founder and CEO of TaskRabbit
Busque <a href="http://lifehacker.com/im-leah-busque-founder-of-taskrabbit-and-this-is-how-496031842" target="_blank">describes TaskRabbit </a>as a service "for automating your most annoying errands and outsourcing your chores. Whether it's getting groceries, putting together furniture, or picking up a Craigslist purchase, Task Rabbit's network of reliable do-ers will take it off your hands." According to <a href="https://www.taskrabbit.com/team" target="_blank">TaskRabbit's website</a>, "since bootstrapping TaskRabbit in 2008, Leah has expanded the company nationally, grown the team to more than 60 employees, raised nearly $40 million in venture funding."
Amy Sheng -- Co-Founder of CellScope
According to <a href="https://www.cellscope.com/" target="_blank">its website</a>, “CellScope builds disruptive hardware and software systems for mobile disease diagnosis." According to <a href="http://www.inc.com/ss/christina-desmarais/11-women-watch-tech#1" target="_blank">INC.com</a>, CellScope "also gives doctors the ability to capture a patient’s visual history over time…[it] ultimately aims to build a digital first aid kit for the home."
Dr. Michal Tsur -- Co-Founder and Presidentof Kaltura
Kaltura, according to its <a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/About-Kaltura" target="_blank">website</a>, is "the world's first and only Open Source Online Video Platform." Tsur has also written for The Huffington Post about <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michal-tsur/how-to-employ-women-in-th_b_1877917.html" target="_blank">employing women in the tech industry </a>and how <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michal-tsur/video-is-the-new-frontier_b_2696975.html" target="_blank">video technology is the new frontier </a>for schools.
Shikoh Gitau -- Founder of Ummeli
<a href="http://www.ummeli.com/" target="_blank">Ummeli</a> is "a mobile network that helps communities create their own employment opportunities." <a href="http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog/2013/04/top-5-upcoming-tech-women-in-kenya-to-watch/" target="_blank">Kenyan tech blog iHub</a> called Gitau, "passionate about technology especially mobile phones and their possible catalyst effect in empowerment and development," and wrote that, "Shikoh provides mentorship and support to various start-ups and research efforts in Africa both in the academia and industry that strive to make technology relevant, usable and useful in the everyday life of African users." Gitau was also the first African to win the <a href="http://www.expatriate.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:kc-rottok&catid=38:profiles&Itemid=48" target="_blank">Google Anita Borg award</a>.
Mary-Alice Brady -- CEO of MosaicHUB
A graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School, Brady worked as an attorney and in a venture capital firm before founding MosaicHUB. The <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/techflash/2013/04/2013-women-to-watch-mary-alice-brady.html?page=all" target="_blank">Boston Business Journal</a> described MosaicHUB as "an online community created to help entrepreneurs find the people and resources they need to succeed."
Prita Uppal -- Founder and CEO of Hooked
Hooked is a game recommendation app which,<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2013/04/26/hooked-meetme-mobile-game-ads/" target="_blank"> according to Forbes</a>, "uses machine-learning algorithms to suggest apps with the highest potential relevance to users up to an exact percentage." Hooked has an impressive 24 percent conversion rate of apps suggested to its users (as compared to the more typical 3 percent response rate of mobile ads).