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Web application that allows employees to remain anonymous when reporting company biases wins top prize

Supplied image.

Supplied image.

Published Mar 10, 2022

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Johannesburg - A web application that will allow employees to remain anonymous when reporting biases they encounter within a company has been announced as the winner for GirlCode’s hackathon.

The event, which was held in Sandton over the weekend, seeks to address the lack of women in the technology sector.

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The latest GirlCodeHack event, which is now in its eighth year, involved 50 aspiring female developers participating in the event.

GirlCode partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Mint Group, Takealot Group, DVT and Lenovo to host the gathering under the theme “Break the Bias” in celebration of International Women’s Day which was commemorated on Tuesday.

The objective of the Hackathon, which is now more commonly referred to as GirlCodeHack, is to address the lack of women in the technology sector by allowing women to showcase their skills as part of an inclusive network of peers.

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As well as building their skills, the initiative aims to give participants more information about what it’s like to work as a software developer.

Those who took part in the hackathon also had access to mentors to discuss their working experiences and roles.

“Technology is becoming one of those things where everyone’s interested because it’s progressing and there’s lots more jobs popping up in that sector,” Zandile Mkwanazi, GirlCode CEO said.

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After the two-day challenge, a panel of judges which included Khetho Netsianda , AWS Cloud Support Associate; Riekert Strydom , Senior Developer for Mint Group; Ronnie Cloete, Executive: Software Development at DVT Software; Fozia Martin, Partner Account Manager Lenovo and Kgotso Buys Engineering director at Takealot Group chose the winners.

NTV walked away as the winners as their web application that will allow a company to register and get a "company code" for all their employees to use to remain anonymous when reporting biases they encounter within the company.

The winning team NTV walked away with Laptops, Laptop bags, mouse, software and R1000 TakeAlot vouchers.

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Meanwhile, Hack-Gen built a Complaint logging system that allows employees to report incidences on bias. The system would then be able to provide real data on the type of biases their employees are facing and allow the HR department to implement relevant remedial programs. Thisteam walked away with Tablets, software and R500 TakeAlot vouchers.

Hack Invasion Girls also built a web application that anonymises the job application processes which are inherently biassed whether it be on the basis of gender, race, and even location, where candidates who live in townships might be overlooked in favour of those who live in urban areas. The team walked away with Tablets, software and R250 TakeAlot vouchers

“Despite the progress that’s been made, when you walk into most IT departments, you will be greeted with predominantly male faces,” Mkwanazi said.

“GirlCode started as a hackathon with the aim to not only show off the female tech talent we have in South Africa, but also to encourage young girls to consider a career in technology, and local companies to think about how they can support the development of the pipeline of women in technology.

She added that they have also been supported by companies like Entelect and Boxfusion over the past seven years.

“We are motivated to keep creating such opportunities for young women in South Africa,” Mkwanazi said.

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