Closing the Gender Gap Byte by Byte

Read About Noor
This is Noor Kamal from Long Island, New York. She is a junior in high school, and a Girls Who Code SIP alumni from Goldman Sachs 2016.

I am a Pakistani-American in a world where my tan skin stands out in a sea of white. I am a female in a world where only seven percent of CEOs are females. However, I strive to be a leader in a world of bits, bytes, and binary -- a world where the only white males have been the kings. I see everything in 1s and 0s, loops and conditionals, Java and Python. I see through the eyes of not only Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, but Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, too.

Our society is a rapidly changing environment, with fads and trends exploding then vanishing. Movies only show the white guys in hoodies hunched over their screens as they furiously type lines of code, perpetuating the myth to girls that only the best hackers are white males. However, increasing the number of girls in the technology industry is not a fad; it is a movement. And, this movement starts with girls who stride through the halls with pomp, but balk upon seeing a sea of boys in their technology class. It starts with the girls who twiddle their thumbs across the keyboards of their iPhones and ponder, “Well, what’s inside the phone? What’s going on behind the screen?” It starts with girls who want to pound at that “highest and hardest glass ceiling.”

Push at that ceiling. Don’t be deterred. In the end, it will be worth it.

This past summer, I attended a seven-week Girls Who Code program at Goldman Sachs. Every morning, I walked into the building in a crowd of associates and vice presidents with my shoulders pushed back with false confidence – an effort to blend in with the influential employees around me. But I walked into the building with the certainty that in twenty years, I will be one of them. I will be donning a collared-shirt with a briefcase in hand while standing at the front of a board meeting, pitching my next idea or leading the next project. I will be at a computer, biting my lip with concentration while my fingertips dash across the keyboard and my brain ponders what to put in the next line of code in the next billion-dollar app. I will be surrounded by males and females of all races. I will be walking to work with my head held high, and I will turn to see a little girl stand where I once stood – staring at the headquarters and the people around her with naïve eyes and extraordinary aspirations. However, this future starts with the people of color and the females who push to make their ambitions a reality. Push at that ceiling. Don’t be deterred. In the end, it will be worth it.

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