HackTheGapMN wants to close the gender gap in the tech field

The Twin Cities’ first all-women hackathon takes place May 16-17

By Emily Gasperlin
Thursday, May 7, 2015

Usually we think of hacking as a bad thing or a destructive force. But at the May 16-17 HackTheGapMN all-day women-only hackathon, techies will spend the day creating.

“A hackathon is a time when a group of people come together to try to make something,” explains Jenna Pederson, ambassador for the Twin Cities Geekettes. “The goal is to learn something while you’re building something.”

The Geekettes, along with GR8 Ladies, are hosting the hackathon at the LeadPages headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. “We are partnering [with GR8 Ladies] to get more women involved in the technology space,” Pederson says. “We wanted to get together to have more women sitting at the table building things.” HackTheGapMN is the first all-women hackathon in the Twin Cities.

Other Twin Cities hackathons include Start-Up Weekend, The Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge, and Hack for MN, which in 2013 produced transit app OMG Transit.

Based on widely-used stats, Pederson estimates that women make up 11% of engineers 26% of programmers in the U.S. Organizations like Geekettes and GR8 Ladies work to bring those numbers up. “We want to get more women involved and retain them in technical positions,” Pederson says. “More diversity in companies will produce a more diverse product. Although more diverse teams have a 22% higher turnover rate, they also have higher financial returns.”

To learn more and to participate in HackTheGapMN, visit their website.