We are Manvi and Vaishali, and we founded Girl Code It in 2018. We weren’t hardcore tech enthusiasts since childhood. Manvi didn’t get into coding until her second year of university. In her first year, she chose to explore before taking a final direction, so she dabbled in content writing, teaching, event management, and marketing. I wanted to join the Indian Air Force like my father but during college, I developed interest in Software Development.
Our vision for Girl Code It was to get more women to be active and interested in software development and tech in general. We saw a need for this because out of 80 students in a computer science class at university, only 6–7 were female. All our male friends had an idea about coding and the fields that they wanted to pursue in relation to it. It was not the same for our female counterparts, so we set out to bridge this information gap. We initiated Girl Code It with a college community of 30–40 girls. We released free courses, roadmaps aka CodeMaps, which went viral. Eventually, boys joined us too. We didn’t do any marketing. The work spoke for itself. We currently have a network of 20,000 people nationwide linked to different campaigns and levels of participation.
Our childhoods were quite different. Vaishali (me) was inactive at extracurricular activities. I’m great at executing the tasks that Manvi initiates. Manvi was active in school clubs. While she wouldn’t describe herself as an entrepreneur as of now, she sees leadership as one of her strengths. Together, we make a great team. We are similar in that we both love teaching and graduated from the same college.
We are ambitious about our future plans. We have our sights set on entrepreneurship and would like to pivot from being a non-profit organization into a business.
We are keen to expand on three levels. The first level is the root. It involves working with young children and their parents to decode the myth that tech is not for girls. At the second level, we want to empower women who are already in technology. At the third level, we want to work with women in tech who are older and had to take a gap year from work to raise their families and are currently finding it hard to get jobs. Our aim at this level would be to make them financially independent.
We are also passionate about generating social awareness for child sexual harassment. For this we intend to create sex education campaigns educating younger children about consent, ‘’good and bad’’ touches, and harassment.
In our journey, we have faced the challenges of finding the right team, building trust, and mustering the confidence to initiate our vision. We faced a lot of hatred in the beginning because of the name Girl Code It. We were accused of leaving out boys. Currently, we face the challenge of balancing our work at Girl Code It, working full-time jobs, and spending time with our families.
When things get tough, Manvi talks her heart out to her mother or good friends. She also journals regularly. It helps her to organize her thoughts, track her emotions, and know what needs to be done.
While me – Vaishali gets stressed without proper guidance. Lacking a mentor in my field and without family support (since no one else was in my field), I initially felt as if I had no vision and it couldn’t move ahead. It took a long time for me to get my dream offer during placements and that put me on the verge of depression. I considered myself successful when my colleague at Walmart recognized me as the founder of Girl Code It and attributed my employment to learning from GCI’s CodeMaps. I am also the only woman on my team.
Manvi considers herself successful because she is working at her dream company. Additionally, during an event at Google, she was approached and lauded for making a community like Girl Code It. If she could start her journey again, she would not change a thing as she always did her best. Her life mantra is that there are no talents from your mother’s womb. Everything is accumulated. If you aren’t dead, then you cannot quit.
I am guided by my father’s words. He says, ‘’You cannot get things before their time or without a struggle. You have to make things work.’’