The Algorithm is Female — How we supported women in tech

thealgorithmisfemale

The algorithm is female is a project led by myself and bornt to empower a Nepalese woman through technology.

Ironhack (a global tech school) together with Hemper (a sustainable accessories brand), traveled to Nepal on the lookout for the perfect candidate to sponsor a Web Development Bootcamp at Ironhack’s campus in Barcelona.

We strongly believed that after an intensive learning program and an amazing experience, she would be able to apply her knowledge to solve a real problem back in Nepal.

To choose a winner, we designed a 3-day hackathon in collaboration with Code Rush. During the hackathon, we wanted to encourage the Nepalese girls to solve a social problem through technology.

The problem girls are facing in Nepal

There is a greater tendency of women to fall into poverty, due to the higher levels of insecurity, precariousness, and vulnerability they suffer because of their subordinate position to men in the gender-based systems. (The Central Bureau of Statistics Nepal)

Nepal is among the fifth poorest countries in Asia, with a quarter of the population below the poverty threshold and a GDP of $ 2.5 per capita. (The Central Bureau of Statistics Nepal)

More than 80% of women with 15 years of Nepal have never attended school and only 4% have access to secondary education. (Human Development Reports UN)

Enrollment in elementary education in developing countries has reached 91%, but 57 million children within elementary school age still do not attend school. (UN Sustainable Development Goals)

Gender equality is still not present in many university degrees. Men represent 87.9% of the total students enrolled in degrees related to Informatics, whereas women have a higher presence in Education studies, with a 77,5%. (www.rtve.es)

Why we believe in “The Algorithm is Female”

In 2018, only 25% of the students in STEM undergraduate programs were women. Our biggest role models in entrepreneurship and tech are still mostly men and if we look at it from the professional point of view, 70% of the jobs are currently held by men in the tech industry in Europe.

We wanted to fight the current gender gap by creating an equal and accessible tech educational system because we believe that tech has no borders, tech has no gender, tech has no age.

The gender gap in the tech industry

The advantages of working in tech are infinite. Salaries are 30% higher than in other fields, the unemployment rate is almost at 0% and you can enjoy remote and flexible schedules. Every day, technology is making a big impact in our lives and society and it has been a key sector for surviving and overcoming the economical and social crisis that “Covid-19” has caused. Ironhack, as a tech school, wanted to give our best committing to the cause:

  1. We want to increase the percentage of women in the tech industry with a 10% scholarship for our Web Development and Data Analytics Bootcamp.
  2. Providing space and a voice to women in the tech industry while helping to create new female role models.
  3. Establishing partnerships with tech companies internationally and nationally to fight the gender gap in the digital industry.

Neha Khachhiboya — scholarship winner

“Great experience, amazing and supportive :).”

I am utterly amazed by how much we can learn in 9 weeks. The curriculum is so eloquently designed that the people with no prior programming knowledge can become a full-stack web developer in 9 weeks.

Ironhack has some of the most talented and experienced teachers and very knowledgeable TAs. They answered each question no matter how trivial they were. I am so grateful for our lead teacher and the TAs for their support, who were willing to work extra hours to guide us on every step and explain the difficult topics. Also, I respect their patience while working with our projects and whenever we were stuck in some nasty bug.

Ironhack has the most thoughtful curriculum, with plenty of exercises and assignments. We were also introduced to pair programming which helped us to collaborate with others and become familiar with version control. Even though the Bootcamp can be really rigorous and challenging, the teacher and the TAs always found a way to make it interesting.

Ironhack, in general, is a really supportive community. After we are done with the Bootcamp, they also teach us how to tackle an interview and provide all the resources needed to land a job. They also organize hiring fairs where companies participate to hire graduates. In addition to that, they also organize programs where external professionals come to give a talk about certain topics. They are also generous to give scholarships to the students. In my case, they were generous enough to provide me with the full scholarship and all the other expenses. Hence, I am eternally grateful to Ironhack.

Having said that it is indeed very intensive and challenging Bootcamp but the end result and how much you have learned will be well worth it.

If you want to get in touch with Neha and see how has her career improved, in part, thanks to the bootcamp, don’t hesitate to reach out to her.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney.

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