Hello dear reader!
I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend! I, for my part, had a lot of fun this weekend as I participated in my first ever 24 hour hackathon at the WiCS (Women in Computer Science) Hackathon.
This hackathon, like most others, had a great speakers and amazing workshops. However, the thing that set apart this Hackathon to all the others I've been to is that it was so inspiring to see all these women, students and mentors alike, coming together to solve the problems we see in the world. Other hackathons I had been to were amazing as well of course, but I definitely noticed that they were run by and catered to mostly men.
At WiCS Hack, I felt like more questions got asked, both in the workshops and the speaker panels because everyone was more comfortable there. Even when everyone split up to work on their projects, more people interacted with the mentors. There was more of a sense of camaraderie, and I think there was a better flow of information. Because the mentors were very open and honest about what was and was not intuitive, it made us feel better when we didn't get the hang of something straight away since we knew that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be understood quickly.
Another part of the hackathon I thoroughly enjoyed was the talk on women and leadership given by Miriam Grobman, a woman who owns a consulting company to promote women's leadership in the workplace. In fact, the main reason she started her company was because she was dissatisfied with the culture and behaviors of the other companies she worked for. She hit a lot of good points along the way, but what I really found interesting in her talk was how she gave very real and helpful tips to combating gender disparity in the workplace, such as not being so modest about our very real accomplishments and the art of negotiating everything.
I really liked how she emphasized that there can't be any one fixed narrative about women in the workplace. Every woman is her own person, with her own ambitions and priorities and to stereotype every woman in the workplace as wanting the same things is dangerous. She also talked about how women are currently graduating from colleges at a faster rate than men but there are major leaks in the pipeline to leadership in companies, due to structural and individual reasons.
I really loved this all-women hackathon, and it really made me think about the necessity of doing this. It was a great, safe place to learn and think about so many new things and create wonderful projects with your friends, so to all the women out there who didn't make it this year, I hope you give it a try!