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Third International Women's Hackathon 2014

October 11–December 12, 2014 | Worldwide on university campuses

Code for a cause. Code with friends. Change the world!

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.

On October 11, we partnered with the Anita Borg Institute to bring the hackathon to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona, where we connected online with local events at universities around the world. We also partnered with the Codess organization for concurrent events in Silicon Valley and London.

The International Women’s Hackathon continues with events taking place on university campuses through December 12, 2014. Host your own hackathon or join one already scheduled in your area.

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.

New this year, in response from requests from several universities, hackers who couldn't participate in the live virtual event on October 11 are allowed to schedule a 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.

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.

Start your own International Women’s Hackathon event today! We’ve got step-by-step instructions to help you plan and host an inspiring event. Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a venue and date.
  2. Register to host an event and we’ll create a Challenge Post site just for you
  3. We’ll provide a toolkit and everything you need to get started
  4. Invite your friends and classmates
  5. Code your heart out and post projects to your Challenge Post page
  6. Upload all final winning team submissions to the Hackathon OneDrive no later than December 15

Join in the fun and have the opportunity develop your coding skills, win prizes, and connect with other women in computer science. Your innovative solution may even be adopted by Direct Relief or the Nature Conservancy.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Microsoft Research diversity.

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.

This year, we partnered 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 from 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. Learn more about Codess.


Join an International Women’s Hackathon in your local area or organize a local hackathon on your community college/university campus.

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:

Hackathon registration

Want to participate?

Join a hackathon near you

Want to host your own hackathon?
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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.