Thursday 21 November, 2019

PHOTOS: Girls' Hackathon in full gear at CBA

Technology Minister Fayval Williams engages Caribbean Hackathon participants at the Chinese Benevolent Association on Tuesday, while Bridget Lewis, co-founder of event organiser SheLeadsIT, looks on. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Technology Minister Fayval Williams engages Caribbean Hackathon participants at the Chinese Benevolent Association on Tuesday, while Bridget Lewis, co-founder of event organiser SheLeadsIT, looks on. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Scores of female high school students from across the island converged on the Chinese Benevolent Association complex on Old Hope Road in St Andrew on Tuesday for the annual Caribbean Hackathon in observance of International Girls in ICT Day.

The event is part of a global thrust to kindle the interest of girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The competition involves the girls using technology to solve issues of gender-based violence and climate change and climate resilience.

They used the morning session to pitch their idea to the judges, who gave feedback for the girls to refine the product for the final pitch, which is scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm. 

They are competing for prizes from various sponsors with the activities on Tuesday being the culmination of eight weeks of webinar online training.

The hackathon is taking place alongside a tech expo which gives university and college women the opportunity to look at and engage with technology that they might not have been exposed to. These include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and robotics.

According to Bridget Lewis, co-founder of event organiser SheLeadsIT, the students have been enthusiastic about participating.

She said, "a couple of schools were not able to make it but I think we have the majority of our schools and the most important thing is that the schools that are here are really engaged and we are very happy with that."

SheLeadsIT, a social enterprise focused on unlocking economic opportunities for females, was founded by Lewis and Nicole Pitter-Patterson in 2017.

Speaking at the welcoming ceremony, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams said such events will help to bridge the technological divide between male and females on the island.

She said, while at the secondary level, both genders are equal, statistics show that, at the tertiary level, males outnumber females 3-1 in STEM-related disciplines. See more photos from the event in the gallery below.

Girls Hackathon Jamaica 2019

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