Keeping up with McGraw Prize Winners: Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

October 4, 2021

Reshma Saujani

2018 McGraw Prize winner, Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, the international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does. Saujani is also a bestselling author, award-winning podcast host, and fierce advocate for girls and women.

Reshma Saujani is well known as the Founder and CEO of the international nonprofit, Girls Who Code, which aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science by running programs for high school girls in programming, robotics, web design, and more. Most recently, however, she founded the Marshall Plan for Moms movement.In an op-ed published in late 2020, Saujani called upon then President-elect Biden to create a task force dedicated to implementing a Marshall Plan for Moms that would include a monthly payment to women working unpaid, inside the home, as well as movement towards parental leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity. Initially borne of the impacts that the pandemic has had on moms (and even more disproportionately on moms of color), the Marshall Plan for Moms seeks to “revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce,” support mothers in the unpaid labor they do within the home, and more broadly advocate for working mothers’ rights.

It is both a response to the ways that moms have borne the brunt of the pandemic - with over 2 million women having left the workforce in 2020 (with women of color having left the workforce at 2x the rate of white women) - as well as a call to rethink the ways pre-pandemic “normal” disadvantaged women and contributed to the workforce gender gap. The Marshall Plan for Moms advocates for a framework which makes it possible for women to work and have kids through direct payments to moms who have had their paid labor in the workforce replaced by unseen, unpaid labor at home, through working to pass policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity, through retraining programs that will help ensure that women can fill existing jobs, and through plans to safely reopen schools full time.

In February of 2021, U.S. Representative Grace Meng of New York introduced the Marshall Plan for Moms to the House of Representatives. This was followed, in March,  by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introducing the Marshall Plan for Moms to the U.S. Senate. Saujani commented on the resolution’s introduction to both the House and the Senate saying, “This is a national crisis. The economic data shows us that mothers are facing the brunt of this pandemic and we must provide relief for them now. All of the jobs lost in December were from women, and about 275,000 left the workforce in January. This is why we need a Marshall Plan for moms… we can’t go small. We need bold policies that get us out of this crisis and prioritize mothers.”