Over Presidents’ Day weekend, 15 girls from Oakland participated in the IGNITE International Girls Hackathon, “a 24-hour, multi-country coding event in which girl coders around the world collaborate to develop a website or application that addresses a specific challenge facing girls and young women.”[i]
BIDS data science fellow Dani Ushizima volunteered for the three-day event in Oakland, where she helped the girls—who were separated into three teams—develop apps that create or increase girls’ access to safe spaces, both online and in the real world. The girls created three technologies to accomplish this goal: Talk It Out (an app to connect teen girls to each other to work through problems), Confidence Coalition (an app to help build girls’ self-esteem), and Ohana (a sensor to track missing girls).
The IGNITE Hackathon was sponsored locally by Black Girls Code (BGC), a San Francisco-based non-profit organization dedicated to introducing coding and software to girls from underrepresented communities. As Ushizima explained, she and the other BGC volunteers “are determined that youth of color not be left on the sidelines in the Silicon Valley.” Through various educational programs and workshops, BGC provides these girls the knowledge and practical skills that will set them on a path to become technology leaders and acquire well-paying jobs in the tech field.
The top two entries from the BGC IGNITE Hackathon were submitted to the overall contest and will be featured in the Global Fund for Women's Geek Gallery on March 18. The winner of the overall contest will be announced via a Carolyn Malachi music video in mid-April.