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The tech industry, although a fast growing and adaptive field, lags behind when it comes to the diversity of its workforce. To address this, we are running a Women + Data Hackathon from the 11th November to 2nd December to give women an opportunity to gain valuable experience working with data. The task is to analyse a global data set on the topic of sustainability, focusing analysis on questions such as ‘Why are some countries making more progress towards decarbonisation than others?’ Each participant is expected to work as part of a global team, each of which will be supported by a data professional who will mentor and facilitate the process. During the event, participants can expect events involving introductory talks from women of all backgrounds who are currently working in the field of data and sustainability including a Careers Q&A session, as well as information sessions on analysis, visualisation and presentation skills. It will be a great opportunity not just to get some hands-on experience, but also to network with like-minded women from all around the world and hear from successful women in data with varying backgrounds.
Numbers show that women for example only hold 26% of all computing-related jobs1, own less than 10% of tech start-ups2 and 20% of women over the age of 35 are still in junior positions within the industry compared to just 6% of men over the same age3. Moreover, women in tech surveyed were nearly twice as likely as men to have lost jobs or been furloughed as a result of the pandemic4.
As an analytics company we acknowledge this gap and the challenges surrounding women getting ahead in technology. And we want to do something about it.
Why a hackathon?
In 2020, we hosted our first Data Hackathon for women, an event that saw participants analysing a global COVID-19 data set within two weeks, crafting and solving research questions around COVID-19 using this data and more. Participants had the opportunity to improve their analytics capabilities and presentation skills working together as part of a team alongside others from all over the world.
They were supported and mentored during the process by facilitators, who collectively boasted over 200 years of experience working in the field of data. The hackathon was entirely remote to be as inclusive as possible towards women of all backgrounds, located anywhere in the world. We had an overwhelming response with over 300 participants registering for the event from 41 different countries.
The impact of the event was colossal, not only did it go on to win the Lord Mayor of London’s Dragon Awards for ‘Inclusive Employment’, it also led to us discovering some great new talent. But more importantly it helped to build a supportive community of women in the field of data, one which we believe there is value in growing further.
So on the back of last year’s hackathon success, in 2021 we are hosting another data hackathon that will upskill women, give them the opportunity to work as a team and ultimately gain hands-on experience solving real-life problems that matter globally.
The hackathon this year will over a two-week period starting 11th November to fit around work, childcare, and any other commitments to make it as inclusive as possible.
We are partnering with the Institute of Directors and Alteryx to deliver an even more valuable event for all involved.