Twelve challenges, sixty participants and a highly professional jury all came together during the weekend of November the 17th at the Impact Hub Geneva to discuss and tackle some of the most important gender equality challenges we face today. A weekend full of fun, sometimes a little bit of stress, but foremost a weekend of collaboration with experts sharing ideas and useful insights with each other.

#PolicyHack

For those of you who have not heard about the Gender Hackathon, here a quick summary. The Gender Equality Hackathon is an initiative of Think Tank Hub and DFAE in collaboration with Foraus. The aim? Creating a space for people to think about innovative solutions and new tools to tackle gender equality issues.

Nowadays we are still facing a lot of these challenges. Did you know that the share of women represented in media is only 24%, only 20% of the Swiss baccalaureates in the field of physics and applied mathematics are awarded to women and that men in the age between 20 and 30 are 26% more likely to get promoted to a management position compared to women. Surprised? Yes! We’ve got work to do!

The specific challenges

As part of the Hackathon, twelve challenges were submitted by different parties from different fields. Participants could apply to hack one of the twelve. Hospice Général for example asked participants to look into possibilities to reintegrate women in the work field after pregnancy. In Switzerland, most mothers are forced to interrupt their professional careers or reduce the amount of working hours to take care of their new born children. For those leaving the labour market, the possibility of reintegrating later is still challenging.

Le Temps presented a challenge about the under representation of women in media. The last Global Monitoring Project in 2015 showed that women only accounted for 24% of the people seen, heard, read or in question in the media, written or audiovisual. How to tackle this?

Empowerment Lab asked the participants to think about solutions that make girls benefit equally from the digital revolution compared to boys and asked for innovative tools on how to promote self-directed learning among girls in remote areas and developing countries. Other challenges referred to the lack of girls in engineering, leadership positions, positive advertising and the way men look at gender equality issues. Too much too mention. Up to the teams to choose carefully and start hacking!

On Friday teams were formed, challenges were divided and the hacking began! Only 72 hours to come up with a good pitch to be presented by Sunday evening in front of the jury. Seven experienced and excited people, based in Switzerland and abroad, active in fields varying from politics, corporate business or with a entrepreneurial background, were given the task to provide participants with constructive feedback.

Be the change!

And what can we say: what a creativity and enthusiasm! The final solutions that were presented were concrete, diverse and foremost original. Take for example the application We Leaders. A to be further developed app to reach out to potential female leaders, help them to develop leadership skills and connect them with interested parties and vice versa. Or the platform Wecanhuman aimed to address the gap between women in the automation field by providing online training courses, mentors and useful information.

Humour was used too when the online test for men to measure their gender inequality perception was presented, and also when a series of humoristic videos to address inequalities where shown. Judges were surprised and happy with the end results, although some next steps need to be further developed. Overall a good and productive weekend for everybody! In the upcoming months teams will get to work on their challenges plus there will be a consult and follow up session in February.

Want to know more about the teams and their solutions? Follow Think Tank Hub Geneva for the latest news and updates. Interested in more Hackathons? Have a look at the Impact Hub Geneva website event page to discover more events.

Note: All pictures used in this article are made by Jerome Fâvre and Tisa Sencur (header picture)

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