YouTube, 23andMe CEOs advocate for women's education on Day of the Girl
Susan and Anne Wojcicki spoke about the importance of helping disadvantaged young women at a benefit for nonprofit Room to Read.
Abrar Al-HeetiVideo producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
ExpertiseAbrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley.Credentials
Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Silicon Valley leaders Susan and Anne Wojcicki know the power of sisterhood, and they want to see that power extended to helping girls around the world.
The sisters spoke at a Thursday benefit in San Francisco for nonprofit Room to Read, which helps children in low-income communities by promoting literacy and gender equality in education.
"As her youngest sister, [Susan] has always blessed me with her time," said Anne, who is co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. "She spends her time dedicated to the family, to her five kids and then to organizations like this."
Susan, who is CEO of
, is a board member of Room to Read. The organization says it's helped more than 16 million children in 30,000 communities worldwide.
"We know that when girls are educated, they can live a much better life," Susan said. "They can be healthier, they can participate in the labor system, they can have higher income so they can take care of their children better. As the mother of five kids, I can't image what it would be like to take care of my kids and have to navigate all the challenges without being able to read."
The sisters have spoken openly about Silicon Valley's diversity problem. Anne has said all companies should hire one woman for every man, including across managing positions.
Last year, Susan shared her own struggles as a woman in tech after a Google employee wrote a controversial memo arguing that women are underrepresented in tech because of biology and not as a result of bias and discrimination.
"I've had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned," Susan wrote. "I've been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I've had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I've had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt."
"I was raised in a time and place when I was told Indian girls shouldn't speak up," Singh said. "When there wasn't a seat for me at the table, I made a seat for myself at the table, and I created a space for myself. But I also know that I had so many opportunities. I had an education, I had supportive parents and a supportive community to help me with that. But not everyone has that."