'Bravery manifesto' from girls' coding activist to HQ

'Bravery manifesto' from girls' coding activist to HQ

HQ has bought “an empowering manifesto that enables women to rewire themselves for bravery”, Brave Not Perfect, from the founder of the Girls Who Code initiative.

Senior commissioning editor Kate Fox bought UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to the title by Reshma Saujani from Araminta Whitley at LAW Literary Agency on behalf of Richard Pine at InkWell Management. HQ will publish Brave Not Perfect in February 2019 in hardback, e-book and audiobook.

The HarperCollins imprint described the book as “an empowering manifesto that enables women to rewire themselves for bravery” .Saujani is an American lawyer and activist who founded Girls Who Code, a non-profit in the US that aims to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

From childhood through adulthood, girls and women are pushed to seek perfection, the synopsis reads. Saujani, the daughter of immigrant parents, was no different. She worked her way to top grades, stellar schools and blue chip firms only to realise that the path to perfect was making her miserable. So she did something brave and risky. “She quit her fancy job and became the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress. Fortunately, she failed epically,” HQ said.

“It was that failure that set Reshma on a journey filled with setbacks, but ultimately, immense rewards. In 2012, she founded the non-profit Girls Who Code, with the goal of teaching one million girls to code by 2020 and closing the gender gap in technology.”

She came to understand that there is a fundamental difference between how our culture socialises girls and boys, the publisher said. Namely, boys are taught to be brave – to take risks, speak up, play rough and fall trying – while girls learn that the road to achievement is paved with diligence and caution. Her 2016 TED talk on the book's subject, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”, has now been viewed 4 million times.

Fox said: “Reshma Saujani is truly an inspiration to women everywhere – and this book is the clarion call we need. Half our population are being held back by society’s insistence on conditioning girls to strive for perfection. We at HQ can’t wait to be a part of the charge to build a bravery mindset in our young women instead.”

Saujani says: "I wrote this book because I know first-hand how our relentless pursuit of perfection as girls leads us to become women who are afraid to fail. So terrified of not doing everything perfectly, we tamp down our dreams and narrow our worlds, along with our opportunities for happiness. This book is designed to give women the tools to escape the perfection trap in our own lives, and raise our girls for brave, not perfect futures."