Hacking for Humanity hackathon envisages 80pc female turnout.
The Irish chapter is also collaborating with MongoDB on the Girls in Tech mentorship programme Stepping Up, which was designed by Coral Movasseli in 2018 and has since empowered hundreds of women.
‘The question we have to ask is, what are the companies we work for doing to increase the number of women in senior tech roles?’
– JOE DRUMGOOLE
The Girls in Tech Hacking for Humanity competition is a social innovation code-a-thon to tackle local challenges at a global scale. Developers, designers, scientists, students, product developers, entrepreneurs, educators and NGOs will gather to collaborate on projects that solve local social problems.
Engagement and empowerment
“The purpose of the Girls in Tech Hacking for Humanity programme is to promote gender equality by engaging, empowering and involving a greater participation of women to solve business problems; to support the local community by working with local charities such as the Dublin Simon Community; and provide an opportunity for women to get their feet wet with entrepreneurship,” Movasseli told Siliconrepublic.com
“We envisage participation from anyone who is curious and enjoys solving problems, irrespective of background. Some women will be active and get their hands dirty with coding, designing, putting together the business plans of the ideas, whilst others may be passive and that is not a problem, as it will provide them with a greater level of exposure to technology and understanding of how ideas become ready for a pitch.
“As we stand for equality, we expect 80pc participation from women and 20pc from men. There will be people from diverse backgrounds – from coders, marketers, designers and any non-technical roles across industries. We envision people joining as a corporate delegation, as solos or tag-alongs with friends – and there is space for them all, as everyone will be placed in a multidisciplinary team,” Movasseli said.
“We are excited by the Hacking for Humanity event,” said Nick Coyne, HR director for Paddy Power Betfair’s technology group. “The innovation that comes with a hackathon aligns very well with our company culture. Best of all, the entire effort of the hackathon is for charitable and good causes.”
The tech industry needs to step up
Joe Drumgoole, EMEA director of developer advocacy at MongoDB, explained that the collaboration with Girls in Tech Dublin is the latest step in an ongoing strategy to achieve gender parity in tech.
He said: “The question we have to ask is, what are the companies we work for doing to increase the number of women in senior tech roles? At MongoDB in Dublin we’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a number of fantastic initiatives such as Women ReBoot, which supports women who have taken a career break to get back into technical roles. We’ve already hired two fantastic engineers through that programme. Within MongoDB we also have a longstanding global women’s group and recently we signed up to the Parity Pledge, whose mission is to bring gender parity to the highest levels of business.”
Drumgoole believes the issue of gender parity in tech will take some time to resolve. “When you make enough real progress, then the conversation isn’t necessary any more. We don’t have debates today about whether or not women should be able to vote, or if there should be segregated seats on buses. As a society we’ve moved on. We only got there thanks to a ton of hard work by thousands of people over decades.
“We know there’s a problem. I’ve had the amazing experience of being part of the mentoring at Girls in Tech and it’s still shocking how many women say they just don’t know where to start or how to link up with other women in technology.
“We want to create a completely level playing field for everyone regardless of your gender, race, religion or politics. To get there, we need to make progress in increments. They seem like small increments and sometimes they are, but progress is coming. When we do an event like this, we’re adding our little piece of light to the sum of light. When you attend or support or speak out for the cause, you’re adding your piece of light to the sum of light. The first rule of winning is turning up. Let’s see people turn up to ensure a level playing field for all.”