When we entered the Kamaraj Auditorium in TT, on 10 March 2019, we could see a swarm of people– and this time atleast 50% of girls – excited as well as nervous for the 24 hours ahead of them. The registrations for the event started at around 6pm. Every participants got a kit with all kinds of stationery possible. Excellent way to get one started for a whole night of coding, I say. At about 7-7:15 the event started. GDG core committee members Kritika and Akshat welcomed the participants with a warm introductory speech. Chief guests from LBRY were introduced and shortly afterwards at around 8:15pm when the event was officially declared open. The main motto of ‘Womentechies’ is to encourage more women ‘coders’. It was made mandatory for every team to have 50% female participants, for the team to be recognised in the competition. This of course led to a great turn up of women which otherwise is not seen in other hackathons.

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The hack started at around 8-8:30 pm. Tracks were given to the participants prior to the event based on ‘women empowerment’. The participants started working on their respective ideas. At around 9:30, dinner was served to everyone. The competition continues on to midnight when the second round of refreshments were served. The organizers made an excellent effort to keep the participants motivated. We went around taking some interviews of the participants and figured that it was the first time attending hackathons for most of the girls,which indeed is a great thing. This hackathon encouraged a lot of girls to come out and try their hands on coding. GDG started ‘Womentechies’ from last year. But this turn up was better than ever. The slogan of ‘Womentechies’ is#hacklikeagirl. Imagine that being a thing- how wonderful would that be?

Every team had their own, unique ways to empower women or to improve safety for women. Team ‘GirlCode’ worked on an app to improve women safety. Team ‘Delta’ worked on an app that would contribute to elimination of gender discrimination in the job sector. They tried to develop an app that would enable the hiring people to hire people by just looking at their accomplishments and capabilities. All the other information will be hidden from the employer. Thus the results will not be gender biased. However the problem is not completely eliminated as the employer can still reject the applicant in personal interview. The first review started at about 3:30 am and continued on to 6 o’clock in the morning. The review was done by the club members itself. Another very impressive thing about the event was that the club members were very responsive and helpful in every situation. They tried to reach out to as much participants as they could.

At around 6 am everyone was given a break to freshen up. At around 11am everyone was back and resumed their work. The second review started shortly afterwards at around 12:00 pm. Several little contests were also held with extra goodies. There was a scratch card lottery and an online competition. For the second one, the participants had to take a creative photo and then put it up as a post with hashtags and the post with most number of likes, is the winner. These little indulges kept everyone going and broke the monotonous situations. The result of the second review was declared after lunch. At around 4-4:30 pm the pitching session started. The finalists who were shortlisted after the second review pitched in their projects that would contribute towards women empowerment. There were lots of great, innovative ideas. Team ‘Red Panda’ worked on a project to improve tourism in Tamil Nadu. Another team worked to develop an app where women can travel or carpool with other women, thus eliminating the company of random,sketchy male. Team ‘Calypso’ developed apps that would help women in emergency situations. Whenever women feel helpless, they can shout out a keyword which will alert her emergency contacts and her live locations will be sent to them. Every team had 3-4 minutes to pitch in.

After the pitching session was over, the results for the online contests were declared and the winners went home with a lot of goodies.

Finally at around 7 pm the result was declared for ‘Womentechies 2019’. Team ‘Red Panda’won an award for ‘all women group’. The winners for the event were- Team ‘Delta’,Team ‘W-hack’ and Team ‘Calypso’. Team 'Vauxhall’ got a special mention for their idea and effort.

It was a wonderful event. This event was honestly a great opportunity for the women coders and also to the people who never participated in any hackathons. They agreed that it was a big experience. Kudos to everyone involved in this event, for it was a big, fat success!


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