OTTAWA, Ontario, Nov. 8, 2017 /CNW/ -- Hackergal, a non-profit organization that introduces middle school girls to the unlimited possibilities of coding through girl-only hackathons and coding camps, today announced that its next hackathon will be the biggest in Canadian history. More than 2000 girls in grades 6-9 at public and private schools are expected to participate on December 13, 2017.
With 40+ schools already committed to participate, there is still opportunity to join the Hackergal movement by registering a classroom or school to participate. To register, please visit: http://hackergal.org/#contact
The facts show a massive gender imbalance in computer science. It is widely accepted that excellence in the STEM fields is table-stakes for any economy. Yet it's estimated that while there will be 1.4 million jobs (conservatively) in computing, women are currently on track to hold only 3% of those jobs.
"Diversity in coding is an important issue for innovation within society," said Ray Sharma, Founder of Hackergal (as well as CEO and Founder of Extreme Venture Partners). "This is not just an issue of fairness, its more significant, its an issue about the evolution of software. Presently, we are missing out on the female dynamic when it comes to computer science. And this is to the detriment of us all. As a leading seed stage venture fund, EVP has established Hackergal to make a mass effort over a long term to help correct the imbalance."
Hackergal is on a mission to change that ratio by empowering and motivating young girls to seek a future in technology by exposing them to coding in the classroom setting well before starting their high school careers.
Empowering Girls One Hackathon at a Time Hackergal's Hackathon-Plug-and-Play makes it possible for any teacher or educator to conduct a hackathon even without previous coding experience. Plug-and-play materials include a coding platform along with manuals and modules for both teachers and students, suggested agendas, certificates and badges that reward girls participation and achievements.
How It Works: Girls are put into teams of 2-3 students to create their own solution to a problem through coding. In the weeks prior to the hackathon, educators take the students through a series of lessons in the Python coding language to prepare for the event. Hackergal also provides online access to the platform so parents or guardians can track their student's progress.
"Hackergal emerged out of a desire to empower and engage young girls to explore the possibilities of computer science in a fun and positive way," said Lucy Ho, Co-founder and Managing Director of Hackergal. "Our hackathons are designed to light a spark in girls at an early age when they are most impressionable and it counts."
According to Cameron Steltman, a teacher who participated in a Hackergal Hackathon last June at John T. Tuck Public School, the majority of girls who participated in the Hackergal Hackathon walked away saying, 'I can do this!' Any previous fears related to coding went away. They are now approaching high school with a whole new level of confidence when it comes to computer science and coding.
With women vastly underrepresented in the tech field all over the world, Hackergal is working to inspire and train a new wave of Canadian female coders in every industry — not just the companies typically associated with tech or startups. Banking, media, mining, oil and gas, retail, healthcare — no matter which industry captures a girl's imagination, coding will give her an advantage to help realize her dreams — while also giving her a highly employable skill in a field that is intellectually, creatively and financially rewarding.
"December 13th is just the beginning of a massive Hackergal movement," said Matoula Mitropoulos, Managing Director of Partnerships for Hackergal. "We have joined forces with industry leaders across Canada to make our Hackergal vision a reality. These sponsors are contributing funds but also serving as role models — not just talking the talk but walking the walk when it comes to empowering women technology leaders in the workforce."
"Our December 13th Hackergal Day Hackathon is just a first step to taking Hackergal national," continued Mitropoulos.
Sponsors for the December 13th Hackergal Hackathon include, Barrick Gold Corporation (Platinum), Communications Security Establishment (Gold), Shaw Communications Inc. (Silver), Scott Lamacraft, CEO, Cormark Securities (Silver), Paradigm Capital Inc. (Bronze), CIBC (Bronze), and our honorary partner: Fasken Martineau.
About Extreme Venture Partners Extreme Venture Partners (EVP). EVP is an early stage investment fund, startup development lab (Extreme Innovation) and global-to-Canada accelerator (Extreme Accelerator) that invites diversity as the spark of brilliance and innovation, quietly launching some of the Canada's most interesting startups. EVP has developed a comprehensive startup ecosystem, as well as a not-for-profit organization (Hackergal) dedicated to addressing the gender imbalance in coding.
For more information about Hackergal Day, December 13, 2017, visit: www.hackergal.org
About Hackergal Hackergal was founded in 2015 with the mission to introduce middle-school girls to coding through its Hackathon program. The not-for-profit's goal is to create a movement of girls coding — ultimately closing the gender gap in technology and computer science — by sparking an interest at an early age. Hackergal is presently regionally-focused but seeder schools have been recruited to help our national roll-out in 2018.