Hackergal hosts virtual Hackathon for Computer Science Education Week to bridge the gender gap in technology
TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2019 /CNW/ – On December 11th, at 12 pm Eastern Time, over 4,500 girls will connect virtually with their peers across Canada. From the East Coast to the West, major cities to remote communities, girls grades 6-9 will log in from their classrooms to use the coding skills they’ve learned over the past several months. It’s Hackergal’s 5th Annual Hackathon, a nation-wide event that builds a community of female coders in Canadian schools.
Hackergal is a charitable organization inspiring girls to explore opportunities in computer science. Collaborating with teachers across the country, Hackergal offers a supportive learning experience for both students and educators, providing the tools they need to learn how to code in preparation for Hackergal’s biannual hackathon, a cumulative event where girls apply their digital skills and collaboratively code around a social impact theme.
Reflections on Leadership
This year’s theme “Leaders in Herstory” asks girls to consider the qualities of everyday champions, fictional heroes, and role models. In a time where leadership is at the forefront of our thoughts, the girls will code an interactive story or game as a reflection of the individual’s story or impact, no matter how big or small. They’ll be asked to consider who the leaders in their lives are, what is exceptional about these people, and how can the girls themselves emulate these qualities in their own lives.
“The girls in our program are at that crucial age when they form personal narratives about their capabilities while making important decisions about their future,” says Kumiko Imai, Director of Education, Hackergal. “They are learning about problem-solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills as they are challenged to think about technology in new ways and be resilient in a supportive setting. These are the experiences that will set girls up for success and help them grow into Canada’s future tech champions.”
Bridging the gender gap
As the tech industry continues to grow annually, there is an increased demand for diverse skills, perspectives, and talent, but women and girls are often left behind. In STEM fields, women make up 22% of the workforce, a number that has only grown by 2 per cent in the past thirty years. Women are also vastly underrepresented in leadership roles, with more than 53% of Canadian tech companies reporting to have zero women on their executive teams.
“Working in the tech industry, I noticed again and again how tech leadership continues to be dominated by men,” says Lucy Ho, Founder, Hackergal. “It made me think: how can girls aspire to have an impact in this field if they are not exposed to role models that look and sound like them? That’s why it’s important for us to champion girls at a young age and support them through their coding journey so they can see themselves as future leaders and changemakers.”
With a dedication to developing a diverse and inclusive technology industry, Hackergal is hosting an iPad and Swift Playground workshop bringing students together to explore the intersection of creativity and code in Toronto on December 13th.
Hackergal is a charitable organization inspiring girls to explore their own potential in computer sciences through the experience of a hackathon. Hackergal works directly with the education system across Canada, providing educators with the tools they need to expose girls to coding lessons in their very own schools! For more information, visit us at www.hackergal.org