SheHacks Boston 2018 was the first of its kind, being the World’s largest all-female, non-binary hackathon. It took place this past weekend from Friday, January 26th to Sunday, January 28th. With over 1000 participants, this hackathon was filled with workshops, key note speakers, tinkering, and networking with companies like Google, IBM, and RedHat. You can get to know more about the event and the team here: http://www.shehacks.io.
I was fortunate to have been part of the leadership team for SheHacks Boston, serving as the High School Ambassador. The group of young women that I was working with were truly inspirational and act as role models for high school girls, such as myself. I can’t thank them enough for their guidance, confidence, intelligence, jokes, and support.
As the High School Ambassador for SheHacks I took it upon myself to garner as many girls from the Greater New Jersey Area to join me, and my Kickstarter initiative helped raise $2,530 in just 10 days! I was especially taken back when I saw that people that I didn’t even know donated as much as $1,000 to the cause. I am so incredibly grateful for this community, who showed me that having blind faith truly pays off. Thanks to them, we were able to fill a coach bus with over 40 high school, college, and international students who shared the same vision: Increase representation for women in the STEAM field.
Throughout the hackathon, I noticed that all of the things that I really enjoyed came together. Coding, empowering women, leading, running, all whilst having a good laugh. Funnily enough, I saw the same traits in the girls when I was leading the 5K run as I saw when they were coding. Persistence, team-work, and spreading the #GirlLove. Despite the fact that these girls had varying levels of stamina, we stuck together and encouraged each other to push through and finish strong.
Additionally, I made it a priority for this college-hackathon to be welcoming to high schoolers by hosting a High School Hackers workshop. In order to make the workshop as impactful as possible, I decided to have an intimate reflection circle where we could share what its like to be a female in STEAM at high school. Sometimes, we feel alone in fighting for women’s equal rights and representation in society. However, by connecting with like-minded girls, we were reassured that we were in this together and became empowered to never stop advocating for what is right. One common pattern that I noticed throughout the stories that were shared included the stigma that surrounds the movement ‘Gender Equality’, especially amongst our male peers. There is a definite societal stigma that these issues are over exaggerated and the people who support this movement are petty. I think that the best way to go about this is to stress equality for all, over dominance. Feminism can be portrayed as the overshadowing of men, however, the true definition of this movement is simply EQUALITY FOR BOTH SEXES. This is what we need to educate our friends, family, community, and society about. As I said in the BU today article, “I expected to face this in the workforce as well, because women make up only 25 percent of coders, and this is going to be an issue until everyone accepts it as a real issue and starts changing their act.”
Finally, during the Demos of all submissions I was on sticker duty, handing out the famous “I Demoed” stickers from Major League Hacking. This gave me the opportunity to see all of the girls’ projects, which were all so innovative and daring. Women are usually looked down upon for our strong sense of intuition and how in-tune we are with our emotions. However, at SheHacks, the hackers proved that emotion is powerful, and can be used to truly connect us through the instincts of human nature: Kindness and love ❤
SheHacks Boston was a thrilling adventure and I would personally like to shoutout all of the leadership team, sponsors, volunteers, mentors, chaperones, judges, hackers, Boston University, and Major League Hacking for pulling off this one-of-a-kind experience. Thank you once again!