All Girls Hackathon Codes to Close the Gender Gap

By Press Release

Hackergal hosts virtual Hackathon for Computer Science Education Week to bridge the gender gap in technology

December 11, 2019 – TORONTO – On December 11th, at 12 pm Eastern Time, over 4,500 girls will connect virtually with their peers across Canada. From the East Coast to the West, major cities to remote communities, girls grades 6-9 will log in from their classrooms to use the coding skills they’ve learned over the past several months. It’s Hackergal’s 5th Annual Hackathon, a nation-wide event that builds a community of female coders in Canadian schools.

Hackergal is a charitable organization inspiring girls to explore opportunities in computer science. Collaborating with teachers across the country, Hackergal offers a supportive learning experience for both students and educators, providing the tools they need to learn how to code in preparation for Hackergal’s biannual hackathon, a cumulative event where girls apply their digital skills and collaboratively code around a social impact theme.

Reflections on Leadership
This year’s theme “Leaders in Herstory” asks girls to consider the qualities of everyday champions, fictional heroes, and role models. In a time where leadership is at the forefront of our thoughts, the girls will code an interactive story or game as a reflection of the individual’s story or impact, no matter how big or small. They’ll be asked to consider who the leaders in their lives are, what is exceptional about these people, and how can the girls themselves emulate these qualities in their own lives.

The girls in our program are at that crucial age when they form personal narratives about their capabilities while making important decisions about their future. They are learning about problem-solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills as they are challenged to think about technology in new ways and be resilient in a supportive setting. These are the experiences that will set girls up for success and help them grow into Canada’s future tech champions.

— Kumiko Imai, Director of Education, Hackergal

Bridging the Gender Gap
As the tech industry continues to grow annually, there is an increased demand for diverse skills, perspectives, and talent, but women and girls are often left behind. In STEM fields, women make up 22% of the workforce, a number that has only grown by 2 percent in the past thirty years. Women are also vastly underrepresented in leadership roles, with more than 53% of Canadian tech companies reporting to have zero women on their executive teams.

Working in the tech industry, I noticed again and again how tech leadership continues to be dominated by men. It made me think: how can girls aspire to have an impact in this field if they are not exposed to role models that look and sound like them? That’s why it’s important for us to champion girls at a young age and support them through their coding journey so they can see themselves as future leaders and changemakers.

— Lucy Ho, Founder, Hackergal

With a dedication to developing a diverse and inclusive technology industry, Hackergal is hosting an iPad and Swift Playground workshop bringing students together to explore the intersection of creativity and code in Toronto on December 13th.

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About Hackergal
Hackergal is a charitable organization inspiring girls to explore their own potential in computer sciences through the experience of a hackathon. Hackergal works directly with the education system across Canada, providing educators with the tools they need to expose girls to coding lessons in their very own schools! For more information, visit us at www.hackergal.org

Media Contact
Bukunmi Ogunrosoye
Digital Marketing and Communications Coordinator
bukunmi@hackergal.org
(226) 9218209

To All the Giants, Whose Shoulders We Stand On

By Insights

By Jennifer Takács

What is gratitude? Harvard Health Publishing defines gratitude as “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.” I was recently reminded of the power of gratitude during Derek Tangredi’s keynote speech at the Bring IT Together Conference in Niagara Falls. After listening to his transformative experiences at Wilfred Jury Public School, I was inspired to reflect on the benefits of gratitude in my own life.

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What I learned by “being bad at technology”

By Insights

By Cassie Tatone

I am one of those self-proclaimed people who are “bad at tech”. My younger brother was always the one who managed setting up a movie on the TV or to reboot the internet when it broke. I never installed the newest IOS, only updating when I bought a new phone that came with the newest system or really wanted to use some of the new Emojis I was seeing around. If I couldn’t get the printer to work, or if I accidentally switched modes on my computer and needed help, I would blame “being bad at tech” as the culprit.
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Hackergal Receives $1M in Government Funding to Reach New Heights with Coding Education for Girls

By Press Release

Toronto, September 19, 2019 – Hackergal, a not-for-profit organization that introduces young girls across Canada to coding, has received $1 million from the Government of Canada’s CanCode funding, which has allowed them to launch Hackergal 2.0: Reaching New Heights.

As one of the 21 organizations to receive a collective $12.4 million from the second stream of CanCode funding over the next two years, Hackergal 2.0: Reaching New Heights initiative will deliver training on the basics of coding through workshops and semiannual hackathons in schools from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

It is important we provide opportunities for young girls to see themselves beyond gender stereotypes and see how capable they are as engineers, scientists, and technology leaders starting at an early age. By providing environments where girls can be inspired, be curious, and ask questions, girls will use technology to shape the world we live in for the better. That’s what I see through our hackathons each year.

— Lucy Ho, Co-Founder & Executive Director

The Hackergal 2.0: Reaching New Heights initiative will:

  • Develop an online portal for program delivery to increase Hackergal’s impact through their nationwide in-school hackathons
  • Build its program reach to engage over 17,000 new girls to learn code across Canada
  • Provide training and development opportunities for over 850 educators on digital skills
  • Create customized coding and technology-related educational resources to support provincial and territorial curricula requirements
  • Expand program delivery into Quebec and French-speaking schools across participating provinces and territories

Since Hackergal’s initial launch in late 2015, Hackegal has increased the number of girls engaged in their hackathon education program from 300+ girls in Ontario to over 7,500 girls this past year across all provinces. With the support of CanCode, Hackergal will expand programming to support girls in traditionally underrepresented groups with the goal to bring code education to 50,000+ girls cumulatively over the next three years.

Hackergal has evolved under Lucy’s leadership to become the largest hackathon in Canadian history, as measured by the number of participants. I cannot understate the true innovation from the Hackergal team, the ability to host a national learning event with 100+ schools from Western to Atlantic Canada culminating in a hackathon within which diverse teachers are able to lead girls through the process of learning a programming language. It’s remarkable. Now with the support of the Government of Canada, we are excited to grow Hackergal many times larger. Our ultimate objective is to dramatically change what we believe is the largest gender gap in society today – developers.

— Ray Sharma, Co-Founder & Chair

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About Hackergal
Hackergal was founded in 2015 with the mission to introduce girls across Canada to computer science through its hackathon program. The not-for-profit’s goal is to create a national movement of girls coding — ultimately closing the gender gap in technology and computer science — by sparking their interest and confidence at an early age. To learn more or register your school for Hackergal’s 5th Annual Hackathon this Fall, reach out to the team by emailing hello@hackergal.org.

My Letter to a Girl Who Thinks She Can’t Code…

By Insights

A blog feature written by Olivia Xiao, a Hackergal participant and passionate coding enthusiast!

Today it is not unusual for people to hear about exciting breakthroughs in technology and big developments in the future of mankind. Often, it’s a new function for phones or another rocket launched by Elon Musk, and behind most of those advancements, one can often sense intrigue, tremendous effort, and fantastic programming skills. The accomplishments of experienced coders, often showcased on the news or through social media, have always seemed nothing short of extraordinary to me, as someone who knew nothing about coding at the time. These new developments happening right beneath our eyes are in some ways veiled from us, and their powers exclusively reserved to those who are well versed in the art of coding.

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Thinking of Your Career as an Adventure

By Insights

This week our featured woman in tech is Maya Beri, the VP of Financial Crimes Technology at CIBC.

Maya’s team is accountable for keeping CIBC’s clients and bank data safe and protected. Her team is responsible for building and running technology systems that proactively protect the clients and the bank from money laundering, cyber security attacks, and internal and external threats.

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Getting through code one piece at a time!

By Insights

As a woman in tech, CIBC’s Sukhpreet Birdi joined Hackergal’s first all-girls hackathon on Parliament Hill this Spring.

Growing up Sukhpreet really enjoyed learning, analyzing and solving problems — whether it was an equation or a jigsaw puzzle. Her curiosity led her to Computer Science, but it wasn’t love at first sight! Her first encounter with coding made her wonder whether software technology would lead to an exciting career. Luckily, after a short time, she realized writing code wasn’t so scary and similar to a jigsaw puzzle, she could get through it one piece at a time!

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