Over 100 girls representing Grenada’s rising talent in the ICT sector, will take part in the Caribbean Girls Hack – 2019 Hackathon, which is part of “International Girls in ICT Day” celebrations over the world.
The hackathon which is organised by SheLeadsIT co-founders Bridget Lewis and Nicole Pitter Patterson, encourages and empowers young women to pursue studies and careers in ICT.
This year’s programme takes place in 5 Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados, and is run in collaboration with Caribbean regional technology partner, Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC) Tech Clubs, and with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), and the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (CAPSS).
The cohort of bright Grenadian girls, hail from over 10 schools all across the island and are part of a wider global initiative created to fill the gender gap for females in the technology sector. Across the Caribbean, girls engaged in a 2-month immersive webinar-based training, involving activities with international tech mentors and other subject matter experts, to creatively problem solve around 2019 programme’s 2 core causes: Gender-Based Violence and Climate Change and Resilience. The public can follow their progress on social media using hashtags #FutureSafeGirls and #ClimateSafeFutureSafe.
The Grenadian arm of the initiative culminates its activities in a Hackathon and Interactive Tech Expo to be held on Tuesday, 21 May at the Grenada Trade Centre, where the girls will work under a ticking clock to refine their solutions and be judged by a panel of tech experts. The winners will receive prizes including tech gadgets and various cups and medals.
Lewis notes the global impact of the programme: “Globally the jobs of the future are becoming heavily tech based, but tech is still a space which is highly male-dominated. Girls and women face many barriers to entry and are not encouraged or given the tech skills necessary to properly equip them for these jobs. Girls in ICT Day brings awareness to the need for women to take part in the future of ICT, and ensure that capable and talented girls don’t get overlooked.”
Dominic Jeremiah, Chairman of the Grenada Secondary School Principals Association, said, “The Hackathon gives the girls a taste of what can be achieved using ICT and helps them see it as a platform for self-development, studies and careers. It is empowering our girls and women to not just be users of ICT but to also expand the pool of women working in ICT.”
The wide reaching importance of this initiative has garnered high praise and support from Government Ministries and agencies, international funding agencies and corporate sponsors, across the Caribbean.
Pitter Patterson stated that, “through the Hackathon activities, we will engage the “Hacker Girls” in a deeper understanding and a critical thinking process, around the issue of GBV and Climate Change and Resilience to equip them to create technology solutions that are practical and workable and by doing so begin the process of seeing themselves as change agents to address these issues, not only in the Caribbean but Globally.”
Technology partner, Raj Ramdass added, “We have experienced for ourselves how the contributions of women in tech are invaluable. Getting the best tech talent into the Grenadian workforce is imperative, which means there must be space for everyone to learn, including girls.”