Microsoft expands Imagine Cup to include a focus on women

Microsoft's Imagine Cup student technology competition will now include two new categories that will put the focus on women and how technology directly affects women's issues. Microsoft announced the two new competition categories today, which can be entered by teams that are picked to participate in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals.

Microsoft's press release states that the first category is the Women’s Empowerment Award, which can be entered by Imagine Cup teams of any gender. Microsoft says that the new competition is designed to find the best Imagine Cup projects that " ... best address economic inequality, access to technology and other resources, gender-based violence, leadership and political participation, or other critical women’s issues." The team with the winning project in the category will get $12,000, with the second place team receiving $8,000.

The second new Imagine Cup competition is called the Women’s Athletics App Challenge. Only female teams can enter projects in this category, which is designed to find the best women-themed apps made for "sports, fitness and athletics." The team with the winning app will not only receive $1,000 for each team member but they will also get a chance to meet a member of the Seattle Storm women's basketball team and watch one of their games in Seattle.

The 2013 Imagine Cup world finals will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia July 8-11th.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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"Sexism" is what sparked this... MS, Google, Apple, (using the big guns as an example)... Are mostly male staffed... So if you are a female trying to get into a place mostly dominated by males, what are you going to think about this company... Yes it is a "lose,lose" situation... But since Imagine Cup is still mostly dominated by men, MS probably went with the "We need some more girls doing this, so we don't look male chauvinist pigs" approach...

well at least that is my take on it...

What women in education are doing to encourage more men to join the industry? Do they (women) in education think that because they outnumber men they are "pigs"?

I remember when there were benches for whites and blacks only in the US this was considered as a blatant racism.

Now we have "special categories" of competitions that can be participated ONLY by women.

What MS is trying to say by doing that? That they don't give a **** about men who represent 95% of their developer workforce?

Do we have "men only" competitions in industries where men are highly underrepresented, e.g. education?

How are they going to check who is a woman or man? Are they going to do some sort of genital inspections?

Men are usually the driving force at Imagine Cup... Microsoft is doing this to get females more involved in it... so they made added categories that will be more geared towards ladies than men... and maybe this will spark more females to get involved in the other categories as well.

Showan Watson said,
Men are usually the driving force at Imagine Cup... Microsoft is doing this to get females more involved in it... so they made added categories that will be more geared towards ladies than men... and maybe this will spark more females to get involved in the other categories as well.

Well I'm sorry but that is sexist against men. Drafting categories which can ONLY be won by women is complete and utter discrimination and if it was the other way round there would be all sorts of hissy fits... The whole empowering women thing is contradictory...