Jaskiran Kaur Rahi is helping girls fight gender inequality by inspiring them to make their mark on the world.
She started her company Spirit & Soul after realising she wanted to empower other girls following a coding class four years ago.
“My mum signed me up for a beginner’s coding class at The Mind Lab in the holidays. When I walked in, I realised that I was the only girl there,” Jaskiran says.
“I didn’t think much of it at the time, so I carried on with my coding. As I was finishing my project, a lot of the teachers came up to me and congratulated me on my work.
“I thought to myself; ‘what have I done that’s so special? I’m just coding like everyone else.’ Then I realised it was because everyone else was a boy.”
Since then Jaskiran has strived towards gender equality and created Spirit & Soul to help this happen. Spirit & Soul aims to empower young women to do anything they want.
Her first event, “When I Was Young”, took place earlier in the year. Jaskiran invited girls from around Wellington to listen to guest speakers, including Nicole Rosie (CEO of WorkSafe), Jo Cribb (gender consultant and ex-CEO for the Ministry for Women) and Penelope Gifford (inspector at NZ Police).
“The event was designed to help girls get ideas on how to deal with and overcome the challenges they face,” Jaskiran explains.
“After leaving my first coding class I thought girls shouldn’t have to feel like they didn’t belong.”
“If they feel challenged, they should know how to overcome it and be confident.”
Jaskiran says she was very happy with how the event went.
“The event was a huge success with inspirational advice and learning by all. The feedback was extremely positive and constructive which is very helpful for the development of Spirit & Soul and these events.
“I was particularly proud of how much the girls learnt from the group rotations and I was glad they took some advice away that they can use in their everyday lives.”
Jaskiran says she has big goals for Spirit & Soul and plans to host a larger event, set up a club and make a website.