Third International Women's Hackathon 2014

October 11, 2014 | Worldwide on university campuses and live at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Young women hackersThe International Women’s Hackathon is a network of concurrent events that are designed to empower young women leaders in computer science. By providing a fun and safe environment in which to explore computing, the hackathon encourages and supports university women around the world to become producers of future innovations in technology and help solve challenges in the world today.

We are pleased to partner with the Anita Borg Institute to bring the hackathon to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona. We will be live at Maricopa Community College on October 11 (from 7:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. Mountain Standard Time) with attendees from local Phoenix and Tucson Universities as well as the Grace Hopper conference, and will connect online with local events at universities around the world. We are also partnering with the Codess organization for concurrent events in Silicon Valley and London.

For hackathon organizers

Young women in computer science, electrical engineering, and informatics—as well as women student groups on university campuses around the world—are encouraged to host local hackathons. Last year, we had over 50 events in 11 countries with more than 2,000 young women hacking computing solutions to help teens stop distracted driving and empower women’s economic development through STEM education. Many of the worldwide hackathon organizers contacted local hacker spaces, computing communities, developers, and women organizations for support of their local event. The hackathon was open to women of all skill levels—from those who haven’t programmed at all to the best women programmers out there. The individual worldwide hackathons helped inspire women to learn, invent, and create the future.

To help hosts plan their hackathon, we assembled the International Women's Hackathon Kit, which provides useful information for event hosts such as checklists, suggested schedules, a sample menu, activities, the challenge projects, and judging guidelines. It also includes a customizable poster and email message that organizers can use to promote individual events to local university women. Event organizers may also choose to invite high school women as well.

For the October 2014 hackathon, we look forward to supporting hundreds of events around the world where future women innovators can help us solve some big challenges!

  • If you have any questions, feel free to contact Microsoft Research diversity.
  • The hackathon kit, details on the challenges, and rules and regulations will be available in the coming weeks.
  • Register to host an event or be part of the live event at Grace Hopper.

For hackathon participants

Before the event, teams can plan, storyboard, and determine what they want to do and how they will go about building their solution. The only caveat is that no actual programming is allowed until the day of the event. Teams will judge winners locally and the application and pitch video of the winner of each challenge will be published on the Microsoft Research website after the event. We will provide a small gift for each participant as well as Skype gift cards for the two local winning teams.

New this year, in response from requests from several universities: if you can’t participate in the live virtual event on October 11, you can schedule your hackathon for a different date. However, to be recognized, all final winning team submissions must be uploaded to the Hackathon OneDrive no later than December 15.

In addition, we will partner with the Microsoft Codess Community to bring our two hackathons together. Microsoft Skype initiated Codess in March 2013 to build a community of female coders. We wanted to create a forum for women to network, mentor, and share their advice and experiences. So we decided to run a Codess Hackathon where female engineers at all levels can collaborate intensively on software projects for great causes. Since the Codess launch, we have held 14 events in eight countries bringing together technical women all over the world. Codess aims to inspire women to achieve their professional goals and continue advancing within the technical field. We want to change the future of the computer sciences by increasing the number of women working at the leadership level.

The Codess Hackathons will take place on Saturday, October 11, at Skype London from 9.30 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. GMT and at Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 P.M Pacific Time. For more information on Codess and these upcoming events, visit the Codess website.

Thank you to our volunteers and supporters

We would like to recognize our core team of NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) Aspiration in Computing Winners who have helped us organize the upcoming hackathon and challenges as well as the toolkit that will help you organize your events.

Planning committee members:

  • Safia Abdalla, Northwestern University, computer science, freshman
  • Michelle Chiu, Georgia Institute of Technology, computer science, freshman
  • Ananya Cleetus, Upper Saint Clair High School, high school senior
  • Heather Huynh, University of Georgia, chemistry and computer science, sophomore
  • Jinisha Patel, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Computer Science & Business, junior
  • Courtney Thurston, Commonwealth Connections Academy, high school senior

Helping Microsoft lead the live event at Grace Hopper and ensure great connections via social media to all remote locations:

  • Michelle Chiu
  • Jinisha Patel

Nonprofit organizations sponsoring this year’s challenges:

Event supporters:


Register now to participate at the main event at Grace Hopper, or organize a local hackathon on your community college/university campus.

Hackathon registration

Register for the October 11 event in Phoenix

Hosting your own hackathon? Register now

Find a local event near you



Hackathon essentials

International Women's Hackathon Toolkit

For questions about the toolkit or technical issues about using the OneNote Online version, email

Hackathon Challenges

Previous Women's Hackathons
Contact us

If you have questions about this event, feel free to contact Microsoft Research diversity.