September 29, 2022

Girls Who Code Books Banned From Schools, Founder Speaks Out

“This is about controlling women, and it starts with controlling our girls and what info they have access to,” Saujani said in an interview with Insider

Founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, has spoken up about her company’s books being banned from schools in Pennsylvania. The controversy, which has seen more than 400 books banned from schools as a part of a broader “literary censorship” program, has left many people wondering why Girls Who Code books have been prohibited. 

According to PEN America, all four of Girls Who Code’s books were listed on the Index of School Book Bans, meaning students’ access to the book were restricted or diminished from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. 

“We use these stories to teach kids to code,” Sajuni added. “It felt like a direct attack on the movement we’ve been building to get girls coding. Especially in districts that don’t have the technology or have disparate Wi-Fi, books are a great way to learn to code and a way to equalize access to coding.” 

Stacia Deutsch, Michelle Schusterman, and Jo Whittemore joined Saujani to speak out against the ban. 

In the interview, Saujani shared that she believed the move had been made as a broader effort by Moms for Liberty, an organization that advocates for parental rights in schools, to stop the book from circulating. 

In response, Moms for Liberty have denied such claims saying, “allegations that Moms for Liberty has worked to ban ‘Girls Who Code’ are false.” 

Saujani believes that removing the books from schools stops young women from seeing themselves in the tech industry and limits diversity as many will be unable to see someone who looks like them working in those fields. 

“You cannot be what you cannot see,” Sajuni added. “They don’t want girls to learn how to code because that’s a way to be economically secure.” 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.