Bloomberg Women in Technology (BWIT)–Taking Gender Out of Coding

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Bloomberg Women in Technology (BWIT)–Taking Gender Out of Coding

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 8:45am

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Perfect Banana may have taken a runaway lead in the Second Annual BWIT-sponsored CodeCon competition, but in the end, it was Skillful Nectarine who solved all seven problems to win the coveted Bloomberg CodeCon Cup.

Playful fruit avatars were generated for each of the nearly 100 coders in New York and London who participated in the two hour coding event, sponsored by Bloomberg Women in Technology (BWIT).

The fruit-inspired handles like Shy Lettuce and Placid Yam did more than keep the live leaderboard feed anonymous; it took gender completely out of the competition.

BWIT’s CodeCon coincided with the viral #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag, which brought gender stereotyping in STEM careers to the fore of social media–and challenged the supposition of the tech worker “type.”

“I really appreciated the way CodeCon underscored the fact that there is no one ‘type’ of tech worker,” says Anna Cianciara in Global Data, who participated in the event.

In fact, that was BWIT’s goal in hosting the event: to celebrate and encourage the diversity in tech that their group helps foster at Bloomberg year round–and they’ve been doing it before hashtags spread the word. BWIT’s purpose is to promote women in tech, to promote women in leadership tech positions, and to grow the pool of girls interested in STEM from an early age through events like these, and other programs.

And while three times the number of women coded at this year’s event compared to last year, BWIT leaders say there is more work to do in order to make equality part of office code.

“A lot of time women are discouraged because they feel like their ideas are not being listened to, or their ideas aren’t being taken seriously,” says Janet Torres, a leader in BWIT. “If they see other women doing it, then it will encourage more women. Instead of them not going after what they want, and trying to go into a different career because of their fears.”

Bringing people together to code is a start. BWIT also hosts mentoring opportunities for women, and partners with BOPEN to make sure every woman–and every person–is comfortable bringing their full selves to work in every role.

For the women who take the leap to pursue their tech talents, the rewards are great. Fellow female coder, Ramya Krishnamoorthy said it best at the event: “I feel like a pioneer.”

Keywords: Diversity & Human Resources | Annual | Computers | Hack | Hacking | Technology | Volunteerism & Community Engagement | apps | banana | bwit | career

CAMPAIGN: Bloomberg's Philanthropy & Citizenship