“We want to be proactive, rather than reactive, with the current state of homogeneity in the tech space.”
By Eugenia Koo (Co-Founder, Hack’n Jill)
Gentlemen, the ladies have arrived. And they have come bearing code.
On June 15, 2012, the tech arena will forever be transformed. Hack’n Jill is to feature the first ever hackathon with a half-and-half split of men and women. One hundred developers and designers will mark a shift in the conversation around gender diversity simply by looking beyond their peer’s surface qualities and focusing on their skills.
Teams will be the change they wish to see in the world. The format of the hackathon is simple. Friday night we will kick off with introductions, API demos, and ice-breakers for attendees to get to know one another and form teams. Life’s only necessities – beer, wine, and pizza – will be served in generous quantities.
Come Saturday morning, people will work to create products and services to enhance their summertime fun in New York City under the theme of #HackYourSummer. Prizes will be distributed to judges’ favorites and festivities will continue into the evening.
Tickets are completely free and all fundraising goes towards the event. Best of all, everyone will walk away with some glorious swag. Sign-ups have been impressive at the least. It is an experiment. In an environment structured with such equality and balance, what will be the outcome?
Hack’n Jill suspects, as many “female-friendly” companies have discovered, that there are significant advantages and synergies to be had in such organization. That diverse groups of individuals can create the most creative solutions for common problems and circumstances.
We want to be proactive, rather than reactive, with the current state of homogeneity in the technology space by doing exactly what we wish we could have experienced yesterday. We are looking to emphasize the “how” over the “why” to move forward.
Jacks, the Jills have arrived. And they mean business.
The mere fact that an event like ours is so disruptive exhibits how seriously the demographics need an update. At this moment in time, a 50/50 representation of male and female technologists is a concept. How can we push this concept into a vision, a vision into a reality?
We will highlight everyday role models. We will celebrate the movers and makers who revel in making a difference and being the difference. Our message is powerful: build, better, make, change. Revolutionize.
For our gracious sponsors, #HackYourSummer is not only an excellent recruitment opportunity allowing open access to local talent but a signal that something needs to be done to bring tech’s workforce into the 21st century.
For our participants, they will witness the movement firsthand and partner to propel it into the future. They will learn from and be inspired by one another. Men and women are advocates, actors, and leaders for tipping the ratio.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Eugenia Koo is Co-Founder of Hack’n Jill, an organization dedicated to changing the way people talk about and see women in technology and entrepreneurship. She has a background in finance and will begin this summer at kbs+p Ventures, the thematic investment arm of kirschenbaum bond senecal and partners which backs early-stage companies in the advertising and marketing tech ecosystem. Eugenia lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @itwentviral.