Caribbean Girls “Hacking” For a Safe Future

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday April 26, 2018 – Over 800 girls across five Caribbean countries – Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St Vincent and the Grenadines – will come together for an immersive experience in technology in celebration of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Girls in ICT Day, today.

Following the ground-breaking first Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon in 2017, woman-led SheLeadsIT and Change Makers Development Ltd. will stage the second edition, under the theme #SafeGirlsSafeFuture.

The hackathon is a technology for good initiative which provides high school and tertiary level students with an interactive and hands-on experience in the use of digital skills to solve social challenges. A day-long immersion in ICTs, the hackathon will give the girls and young women, an opportunity to envision themselves, not only as users of technology, but creators.

The event is supported by several private and public sector entities which recognize the need for a technologically savvy, gender balanced workforce.

“To produce a versatile Caribbean workforce capable of navigating the on-going digital revolution we must get more women involved. In the next 10 years, 80 per cent of jobs will require a blend of STEM. We believe it’s critical to engage women earlier in the pipeline to bridge the digital gender divide,” said Bridget Lewis, co-founder of SheLeadsIT.

This year, with an increased focus on upskilling both the ‘hacker’ girls and the observers, a series of pre-event webinars are taking place, which focus on the various ICT activities the girls will be participating in during the hackathon.

“We are thrilled to have Google as our regional technical partner facilitating a number of our training webinars and providing mentorship support. In collaboration with local partners iCreate and GeoTech Vision we will be covering an exciting range of topics including, fundamentals of filmmaking, design thinking, web and mobile app development, geo-spatial (drone) technology, podcasting, gaming and animation” said Nicole Pitter Patterson, co-founder of SheLeadsIT.

The hackathon is one of thousands of events happening worldwide in celebration of Girls in ICT Day, which aims to create a global environment that encourages, educates and empowers girls to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and ultimately launch their careers in ICT.

“With this exciting hands-on event, where several local, regional and international role model tech speakers will give inspirational messages of support via video stream, we hope to inspire the girls with the confidence to chart their own course in a more dynamic and gender balanced technology sector,” said Samantha Chantrelle, Managing Director of Change Makers.

With its target group being females between the ages of 15 and 22, the Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon is focused on ensuring that Caribbean girls and young women will be ready for a career in ICT long before they get to an office.

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