GirlCode has announced the winners of its women-only hackathon, which encouraged teams to find solutions for workplace biases against women.

The GirlCodeHack took place in Johannesburg, at 22onSloane with 50 aspiring female developers participating in the event. GirlCode partnered with AWS, Mint Group, Takealot Group, DVT and Lenovo to host the event under the theme “Break the Bias” in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The objective of the hackathon, which is now in its eighth year and is 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.

As well as building their skills, the hackathon aims to give participants more information about what it’s like to work as a software developer, and those who took part in the hackathon had access to mentors to talk about their experiences working in their roles and guide them throughout the weekend.

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

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 for Software Development at DVT Software, Fozia Martin, Partner Account Manager at Lenovo and Kgotso Buys, Engineering director at Takealot Group chose the following winners from the submissions:

NTV’s winning project, a 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, computer peripherals, software and R1 000 in Takealot vouchers.

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. The team walked away with tablets, software and R500 in Takealot vouchers.

Hack Invasion Girls built a web application that anonymises job application processes which are inherently bias 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 predominately male faces,” says Mkwanazi.

“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 women in tech. We have been supported by companies like Entelect and Boxfusion over the past 7 years and are motivated to keep creating such opportunities for young women in South Africa,” concludes Mkwanazi.