Let every “can’t” fuel your fire … and the belief that you can

Every human, regardless of who you are, has heard the words at some point in their lives … You can’t. You shouldn’t. You won’t. For girls and women, it starts as a seed of an idea that over time, grows into a dark forest of doubts—no matter how much you’ve done to prove yourself or how far you’ve come. It’s still there. Maybe it’s the world telling you the “right” dream to chase. Or someone you’ve never met telling you from behind their computer screen that girls can never succeed. You could let it get to you. Or you could use it to make you stronger. To keep chasing after your dream.

Microsoft stands behind all girls and women in the face of voices saying “you can’t.” Because we, and millions of others, know you can. Find out how these six trailblazers overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams—and how their stories inspire all of us to break down the barriers that get in the way.

©UNHCR/Hannah Maule-ffinch

Grace Nshimiyumukiza

“Whatever dreams we have, they will one day come true.”

First, she taught herself how to use a computer—then, her family and friends. Today, Grace Nshimiyumukiza is a teacher for a digital literacy program aimed at training 25,000 refugees like herself in Kakuma, Kenya. Learn how she’s able to find opportunity in the face of hardship.

Jessica Meir

“If I can inspire a child to do something—anything—that sparks their imagination, then that is an honor.”

From drawing a picture of herself on the moon in the first grade to taking part in the first all-woman spacewalk last year, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir isn’t just living out her dream—she’s also making history. Find out how she persevered over a lifetime to get there.

Anna Miller

“We all have different perspectives ... These all help shape the way we view different obstacles.”

Anna Miller has big dreams for her future, from computer science to writing to art. And she doesn’t plan to let the fact that she’s 12 or has Osteogenesis Imperfecta stop her. Find out how she’s using her coding skills to envision and build a more equitable future for us all.

Halee Mason

“Don’t be scared … just be unapologetically you.”

As Lead Data Scientist for Cloud9, one of the most successful esports organizations in the world, Halee Mason has found her calling and passion. But it wasn’t part of a grand plan—she got there through exploration, self-discovery, and a lot of hard work.

Emily Adams Bode

“Your history and the histories of others can ground you as a person.”

From antiquing and crafting as a child to creating a vintage-inspired fashion brand that made her the first female designer showcased at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Emily Bode isn’t just fascinated with history—she’s making it, too. Go inside her bold and colorful journey.

How’d she do that?

Hear more from Katie, Grace, Anna, Halee, and Emily as they talk with podcast host Taylor Trudon about how they made their wildest dreams reality. Taylor was named one of the Most Influential Young Women of 2015 by Teen Vogue and is a seasoned storyteller for HuffPost, MTV News, The New York Times, and the In Culture podcast.

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Join the movement

Girls Who Code isn’t just a nonprofit—it’s also a movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the skills they need to thrive in today’s world. They’ve reached over 185,000 girls across the US, Canada, India, and the UK. Learn more about their work, their mission, and how you can join the movement, too.

Teaching girls to be “brave, not perfect”

How can we close the gender gap in tech? That question is a driving force behind Reshma Saujani’s decision to start Girls Who Code. Along the way, she’s realized that closing this gap isn’t just about coding—it’s about teaching girls confidence and bravery, too. Find out how Reshma is now inspiring women and girls to be “brave, not perfect.”

Today and every day, we rise above the voices saying “you can’t,” and are inspired to break down the barriers that get in your way.