Imagine that all we have left to our descendants are a few recordings of hackathons. What sort of society would they think we lived in? Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that they would be under the impression that we lived in a single-gender society. After all the testosterone presence in hackathons is overwhelming. We need to change that. Here is why:
Like it or not, people bucket individuals into categories. Sometimes mental categories are necessary to make sense of the fast-paced world around us. However, categorization can be dangerous. Stereotyping leads to rigidity and stifles growth both for the individual and for the category itself.
For years, people have bought into the myth that women can’t code. Women who do, know that this stereotype is, at best, superficial, and at worst damaging.
It’s time to shatter this stereotype. As more women attend hackathons, the more people get used to the idea that women do code. In our hackathons, we’ve had a strong female presence. We’ve also conducted many women only coding events to help women get their feet wet as it were.
Enriching the work force
The trend is clear. Companies tend towards hiring from hackathons. In hackathons, the playing field is level. Women compete with men on an equal footing. As female participation in hackathons increases, the more the hackathon environment resembles the workplace of the future. And that’s a good thing. After all, we do need more women in tech.
Men and women think differently. Studies have shown that diversity of thought encourages innovation. And hackathons are hotbeds of innovation.
Also, in many hackathons, people work in teams. A good hackathon team brings together people from many diverse backgrounds to work on specific pain points. If you have a good mix of men and women on your team, you get different perspectives on the same problem. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that more women in hackathons = more innovation.
According to a recent study, the predominant reason as to why women don’t go into STEM fields is a lack of confidence. This lack of confidence is reinforced by social stereotypes.
This attitude can change in an hackathon environment. At hackathons, women figure out very quickly that men flounder just as much (or more!) as they do. This is all part of the learning process and is a confidence booster!
Hackathons can be fun too!
You must not think of hackathons as 24-hour tests. They can be fun too! In our hackathons, we organize ice-breaker sessions where you get to let your hair down. You interact with other developers and build your network. All the while having a blast and working on interesting problems!
Of course, the list above is not meant to be comprehensive. It is our firm belief that developers, both male and female, should and must attend a hackathon at some point in their professional careers. After all, one does need to see what the fuss is all about, right?
Inspired to attend a hackathon? We are holding a women-only hackathon for Morgan Stanley on July 25th. But that’s not the only hackathon we have in the pipeline. Check out our webpage for more details. So come on ladies. Take part in our hackathons and show the boys how it’s done. If only to record for posterity that we ARE a dual gendered species. 😛