Girl Develop It, Girl Geek Dinners, and TechGirlz are organizing LadyHacks, Philadelphia’s women-only* hackathon, to address the gender gap in computer technology and related fields. This year’s event will be held at First Round Capital on March 6 and 7. Last year’s event had 80 participants.
The goals of LadyHacks include increasing women’s participation in the Philadelphia tech scene and providing a place for women who are considering careers in technology to meet, work and learn from experienced women technologists.
“Because our goal is to increase women’s participation in tech, LadyHacks is different from a traditional hackathon in a few ways. We’re a women-only* hackathon,” said Amelia Longo, LadyHacks volunteer and mentor coordinator, in an email.
“We don’t award prizes – everyone hacks, everyone presents, and everyone celebrates together. We feel this creates a safe space for learning and exploring, as well as a way to highlight the women who are already slaying the Philly tech scene, including our amazing mentors Sarah Johnson, Kathryn Killebrew, Amanda Lange, Lis Pardi, Yash Prabhu, and Maneesha Sane.”
On its website, LadyHacks said it acknowledges the complicated nature of the word ‘women,’ knowing it may not work for many, and can feel unwelcoming or alienating for some. Recognizing the imperfection of language, LadyHacks said it seeks to use the asterisk symbol as an umbrella for inclusivity, and that it chooses “women only*” to specifically and intentionally include cis women, trans, genderqueer, intersex, and queer people who identify as women.
Longo added that anyone is welcome to attend — someone who wants to apply their tech skills to a hands-on collaborative project, who’s interested in learning to code or develop other tech-related skills, who wants to meet some of the local tech community, or who has an idea that could be implemented through technology.
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“That last one’s crucial – it’s much more fun (and productive) to work on real world challenges at a hackathon, and the people who have those ideas aren’t always coders,” she said.
Registration for the two-day event is $10, and 100 percent of the entry fee will be donated to TechGirlz, a nonprofit organization that encourages school-aged girls to consider careers in technology through classes, workshops and mentorship programs.
Image via LadyHacks