Empowering Women in Tech

I was invited to volunteer as a guest speaker panelist and judge for XXHacks at Symantec a few weeks ago.

XXHacks is a 12-hour hackathon for female high school students who work collaboratively to design a website or mobile application that addresses a real world problem. Anika Bagga, a junior at Cupertino High School, founded the girl’s hackathon as a way to provide a platform for girls to explore tech. Read more about this

Anika Bagga, a junior at Cupertino High School, founded the girl’s hackathon as a way to provide a platform for girls to explore tech. Read more about the event here.

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The results I saw were amazing and inspiring.

There were two categories that the teams were split up to address. One was advancing women’s rights and the second was advancing social and civil rights.

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The category that I was picked to judge on was women’s right. The girls presented a the3-4 minute pitch about their project, a particular problem that they were going to solve using their app/website.

There were a number of ideas that were floating around, such as a support app for women. One group focused on women in the middle east and presented the solution of making a platform for women to sell their work online in order for them to support themselves.

Another was to tackle the wage gap, the group provided a website sketch-up where people can enter their salary and compare it to those who work in the same field as they do.

From left, judges Alice Meyer, a senior Global eCommerce program manager at Symantec, UC Berkeley sophomore Nikki Bayar and Ayesha Khan, president of Foothill WiSTEM, evaluate application pitches at the XXHacks hackathon in Mountain View on Feb. 18. Courtesy of Life Captures Photography/Rikesh Mehta

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Courtesy of Life Captures Photography/Rikesh Mehta

Also, there was another idea of a website where users were allowed to rate their company’s workspace and culture. This allowed prospective employees to get a sense of how the company’s culture is from people who work there rather than not knowing what to expect.

They were aiming to specifically see how companies treat their women and other minorities in a workplace setting.

This event was well-organized and gave a platform for girls to explore the tech field. Watching the girls present their projects gave me ideas and inspiration as well to try and create!

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