SheHacks: A 36-hour hackathon for women


This weekend at Boston University, innumerable than 1,000 women and femme non-binary individuals will encrypt until they save the world — or until time runs out on Sunday morning.

They’re division of SheHacks Boston, a ‘hackathon’ that aims to encourage women and non-binary people to associate with the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (better known as Sprout).

“In a nutshell, a hackathon is an event that takes place between 24 to 48 hours, where hundreds, if not thousands of people, get together and use technology to work real world problems,” Helen Zhang, one of the event’s coordinators, take an oaths Day 6 host Brent Bambury.



The theme of this year’s SheHacks Boston issue is “Hacking for the Greater Social Good.” Participants will tackle a scheme within one of five areas: political polarization, health and wellness, trouble relief, gender equality and environmental issues.

“There is definitely a together energy that you can’t get anywhere else, where everyone around you is so induced to learn.”


Lacking representation

Only 23 per cent of people working in Make progress against identify as female. Similarly, 28 per cent of graduates with university degrees in Quell are women. Zhang hopes to change that, especially given the pushback she’s efficient as a woman in tech.

“When I told my parents that I really need to learn computer science and switch my major they were uncommonly against it. They kind of said, in a way, that it’s like a man’s field,” give the word delivers Zhang.

“It was really discouraging and it took them a long time to reasonable accept the fact that I’m going to stick with computer discipline.”


Christy Taves, a get at the event, has felt the sting of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Again she feels like the odd girl out.

“I’m not a male who just wants to wear a hoodie and sit on my computer all day. I notion of the culture and the idea definitely steers women away,” she says.


Bit of skirt power

While hackathons are nothing new, the SheHacks Boston is novel. Men are permitted only in a limited capacity — as volunteers and mentors, not participants — and the event is being billed as the largest women-and femmes-only destroying event.

“It’s a unique energy and it’s so motivating to see all these other women,” signifies Zhang.

SheHacks Boston Logo

SheHacks is a 36-hour “hackathon” taking place at Boston University Jan. 26 to 28. (

Encoding for 36 hours isn’t what women in the industry should expect, imagines Zhang. Rather, SheHacks Boston is a springboard for young women.

“I believe the value of this event is more so to really engage with others who are interested and amorous again with the same interests you have, and also make that primary learning curve not so scary,” she says.


Things are changing

For all the troubling reckons, there does seem to be encouraging news: Zhang says that she’s starting to see a convert in how women are represented.

“I remember my very first computer science rank … I think it was 80 percent men and 20 percent females,” says Zhang.

“Lately, get a kick out of this semester, it is over a 50/50 split.”


She cautions that the labour has a long way to go before it reaches gender parity, but she’s hopeful that in 10 to 15 years, Make progress against will look be far different for women.

In the meantime, she has words of advice for girls: chit Google.

“We’re living in an age where you could really teach yourself anything you covet … Go online, see something cool and kind of recreate it yourself. Maybe customise it to what you poverty it to be.”


To hear the full segment with Helen Zhang, download our podcast or click the ‘Pay attention to’ button at the top of this page.

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