Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that its Imagine Cup 2013 student competition would add two more categories designed specifically to address issues related to women. This weekend, Microsoft continues to encourage women to enter into computing and technology fields by helping to sponsor the first International Women's Hackathon.
In a post on Microsoft's official blog, Rane Johnson-Stempson of Microsoft Research writes about why the company wanted to help launch this effort. She states that she has heard from young women who have expressed reluctance to enter hackathons and other technology competitions. She adds:
This is why we are launching this International Women’s Hackathon: to help young women build their confidence, their capabilities, and their networks and to help them see that they can have a significant impact in the world through computing.
The International Women's Hackathon runs from today through Sunday in a number of different schools all over the world. The women who enter the competition will work to make mobile, web, and game applications that will be designed to address social issues specifically for women.
One of the themes of the hackathon is to develop ways to combat human trafficking of women. Johnson-Stempson says that while the Internet is used to cloak the activities of the people involved in these illegal activities, the women who participate in the hackathon this weekend will be asked to see if they can use computing to " ... build solutions to help victims of human trafficking get out of exploitative situations and help ensure that younger girls do not fall prey to the same exploitation."
Source: Microsoft blog | Image via Microsoft