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Technology for the Creation of Safe Spaces for Women

Worldwide, girls and women face many challenges to live safe, free, financially independent and socially empowered lives. Safe spaces are physical or virtual places where girls and women can seek support to fully develop their qualities, overcoming gender barriers that bar their access to education, work and health care.

The Ignite International Girls Hackaton, from the Global Fund for Women, wants to develop sites or applications that help create and promote safe spaces for girls and women. The global technology competition, aimed at girls aged 11 to 23 years, was held in Porto Alegre in the last weekend of February, and was an edition full of new ideas. Altogether 15 young girls have developed four application proposals.

How does the competition work?

Girls are divided into teams to create an application or website to help create and promote safe spaces for women. The projects developed are judged on their approach to the subject of the competition, the potential impact in the communities they are intended for and the technical execution of development. The globally winning project will be announced in a music video of the singer Carolyn Malachi, and subsequently developed by the Global Fund for Women and published by UN Women, the Global Fund for Women, the XPrize Foundation and other partners of the Ignite International Girls Hackathon. In addition, the top two teams in each Hackathon are disclosed in the Ignite Geek Gallery.

Ignite International Girl Hackathon in Porto Alegre

The Porto Alegre edition happened in 02/28 and 03/01 at the ThoughtWorks office. We provided the space, the machines and some of the coaches to help the girls give their best, and the result was a weekend of much learning and fun. The 15 participants, who already knew some programming, formed four teams and each team developed an application project or website with the help of coaches using Ruby, AppInventor, HTML, CSS and Javascript.

The judges in Porto Alegre were Laura Sartoretto, lawyer in the area of establishing immigrants and support to women, Estella Rocha, organizer of feminist discussion groups, and Erick Painter and Leticia Figueira, software developers

The projects created were:

EnFrente Maria: A social network and online community for reports and complaints of domestic violence. In addition to information on how to act (where to report, support local), the network provides mutual support among the victims.

CooperaDona: The project began as a network of exchange of general knowledge and eventually became a dedicated social network for women entrepreneurs / small business. The goal is to share information on business start-up and support for communication between women who do similar work.

Safe Girl: Mobile app with maps marking places where there were reports of harassment in the city, either on public roads or private businesses.

Não me calo (winning project of the Porto Alegre edition): An app for reporting harassment inside commercial establishments. The app ranks establishments by number of complaints and a maps the establishments reported.

Each project was a success in itself, and we are very happy with the outcome of the event. We made ​​friends and shared experiences while contributed to reduce the gender gap in IT.

This was just one of many events that ThoughtWorks supports to encourage women to get involved in IT. Take a look at our events and participate in the next one. We hope to see you all soon!