• Hackdays

The event of 2021 – by women for women: HerHackathon

Updated: Apr 16

By now, you probably heard about (digital) hackathons. It appears that these technology-focused events mainly attract men. Hence, many women seem to think that hackathons are a place for men and not women. To tackle this misunderstanding, we are hosting the female-only hackathon with the aim to counter the underrepresentation of women in tech, develop gender-inclusive solutions and benefit from the advantages of diversity.

Like every project, this project, too, needs its perfect project-manager: welcome Stephanie! She created HerHackathon - with a strong team by her side and Dorothee Bär as an ambassador, the journey begins... #womenpower

Stephanie Gonzalez

Project Manager of HerHackathon

The interview with Stephanie

Anh: "Hi, Stephanie! 😊 Tell us a little bit about yourself!"

Stephanie: Of course! I grew up tri-lingually in a Spanish-Dutch family in Germany. Being raised with such a culturally diverse background, I have always been interested in the topic of diversity. And since I am also a woman, gender diversity and equality are very close to my heart. I work in an industry where women are still in the minority compared to the number of men. That is why I want to address this gender imbalance and encourage more women to work in male-dominated sectors. This is how HerHackathon was born. More needs to be done to diversify the industry and with HerHackathon I want to contribute to that.

I joined The Hackathon Company in 2020. Before I was working in international development cooperation, and later as a consultant at one of the Big 4 for the Public Sector. At The Hackathon Company, I can pursue my passion for tech topics and at the same time create the link to politics and the public sector.

Anh: "So, what distinguishes HerHackathon from other hackathons?" Stephanie: HerHackathon is an all-female Hackathon aimed at digital product building by women for women. Hence, only female talents will be participating in this event, coming from various backgrounds such as IT, Design, Business, and much more. This marks the difference to other hackathons: female-only teams will be ‘hacking’ on topics, which are usually male-dominated. Our aim is not to discriminate against men, but rather to empower gender-inclusivity and the significance of the female perspective. So, in this sense, it is a pretty unique setting for a hackathon, and we are very proud of this!

1. Challenge Setter benefits

A Challenge Setter is a company that participates in the hackathon and sets a business challenge – a particular problem or 'challenge', which the company is currently facing. Participating talents should then 'hack' and solve the issue during the hackathon. Within 72h, the Challenge Setter will get various innovative solutions, which of course can be further developed and improved after the event itself. The hackathon is a pressure cooker for innovative products, developed by interdisciplinary teams in a very short period. So much magic can happen during a hackathon! It’s so impressive to see the final solutions, wich the teams came up with.

Additionally, participating in HerHackathon provides the companies with a clear positioning on diversity & inclusion – this is something that becomes more and more important to (future) employees. In fact, there is no getting around it anymore. Diversity and gender equality are a “must” – not a “nice to have”. With HerHackathon, companies can publicly take a stand and show they care about this. HerHackathon is also a great opportunity to expand your network within the field of women in tech and diversity & inclusion. Quick hack on the side: the ‘speed-datings’ throughout the hackathon event can act as an innovative recruiting tool since the companies will be in direct contact with highly skilled talents. We have seen many people get hired after our events, which is something we love to see!

2. Talents benefits

Do you want to participate in the hackathon? Awesome! Let me quickly run you through the main benefits of participating: As a participating talent, you get to be part of the HerHackathon community. Together with your team, you will work on real-life challenges by leading companies across Germany. Not only the hacking part is a lot of fun and a cool challenge to tackle, but also the side program of the weekend is very promising and exclusive. You will build up and expand your networks and take part in workshops and panel discussions all around the topic of female empowerment. We want you to get out of HerHackathon with more skills and knowledge than with what you entered.

Furthermore, it is a fun way to get to know the challenge setters as potential future employers. There will be speed dating slots for one-on-ones and - who knows – maybe you will land a new job! And of course, participating in HerHackathon is a great way to expand your network. Get in touch with like-minded women and experts from different fields, all united by their motivation to drive diversity in tech-forward.

About HerHackathon and its benefits

Anh: "Stephanie, what inspired you to organize an all-female hackathon, hosted by women?" 

Stephanie: To me personally, the topic of gender equality and diversity, in general, has always been of big importance and a big motivational driver throughout my personal and professional life. Unfortunately, the lack of gender diversity is still so present in so many aspects of our everyday life – may it be the gender pay gap, the lack of the female perspective in product development, or everyday sexism. When I joined The Hackathon Company, I knew that an all-female hackathon was going to be on my top priority list of things I want to accomplish, since hackathons and the tech world, in general, are still very much male-dominated. And so, it happened! Together with a great supporting team, I came up with the concept last year, and HerHackathon was born – quickly becoming the lighthouse project of 2021 for The Hackathon Company. For now, the hackathon will focus on gender diversity – but in the upcoming ones, we also want to focus on intersectionality and other aspects of diversity. So, stay tuned!

Some facts about Gender Inequality

Anh: "What to expect from this year’s HerHackathon 2021? "

Stephanie: There will be 10 leading companies from Germany participating as Challenge Setters, and over 250 international talents seeking innovative solutions. Each participating company will present one challenge to their interdisciplinary teams. Within 48 hours, the teams will come up with the most innovative solutions to solve these predefined problems. Aside from the hacking part, we have a great side program planned, including speed dating between companies and talents, panel discussions, interactive workshops all around the topic of women in tech and female empowerment.

Anh: "Dorothee Bär, Federal Government Commissioner – Can you tell us more about her and her role?"

Stephanie: Dorothee Bär has been the German Federal Government Commissioner for Digitalization since March 2018 and we are very excited to have her as the patronage for HerHackathon.She is one of the most accomplished digital policymakers in Merkel's cabinet and has acquired valuable experience on topics of digitalization, gender-inclusivity, and society. Whether it is AI or blockchain, she knows the most important trends and the latest developments and is well connected in the German tech scene. For HerHackathon 2021, she will be present at the opening ceremony and inspire all participants with a motivational opening speech at the kick-off of HerHackathon.

Anh: "Online hackathon for women by women’ this slogan is at the core of HerHackathon- why?" Stephanie: We still live in a world, where most products, policies, concepts, etc. are designed by and therefore developed for men. This is simply due to the fact, that women are still underrepresented in many ways. If a male team of developers creates a health app, they will probably not think of including cycle tracking. In fact, Apple’s health app did not cover the cycle tracking until 2019, can you believe it? So simply including more women in the process of developing products and solutions, will make these products more inclusive. They will consider female needs and perspectives. This is at the core of HerHackathon: digital product building by women for women.

Anh: "Last but not least: Who can apply and how?" Stephanie: In short, anybody who is - or identifies as - a female can apply! Don’t worry, it does not matter if you have never participated in a hackathon. Our talents are versatile. You also do not have to be a coder to attend HerHackathon. This is a general misconception since we need diverse and multidisciplinary teams for the most innovative results. We are looking for talents from all kinds of backgrounds – IT, Business, HR, Design, Natural Sciences, etc. The more interdisciplinary the teams the better! HerHackathon will be a place for like-minded women to come together and develop innovative ideas. Approach this hackathon with the willingness to meet new people and to learn, and you’ll have a fantastic experience! How? If you want to stay posted on this topic, feel free to apply here – we’ll keep you updated on the latest news and activities on the hackathon!

Anh: "Thank you Stephanie for your sharing!"

HerHackathon at a glance 4 Key Indicators:

  1. How many talent-seats are open? Stephanie: Over 250 female digital natives from around the globe (students, founders, young & experienced professionals) come together (online)

  2. Which skills are needed? Stephanie: The fields are various: from IT development, business, all the way to design, and many others, are represented

  3. The Goal? Stephanie: To solve various challenges of 10 leading companies, with a branch office in Germany. The participants will join together with the company representatives, to find creative and innovative solutions for any given challenge

  4. How long does this event last? Stephanie: 72 hours in total

Or contact Stephanie via e-mail!

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More about the Event.

About the author:

This article was written by Anh Nguyen.

All photos were taken from our own materials!

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