ESPN hackathon to demolish gender stereotypes, build cool apps


Sports-loving technophiles who happen to be women will spend two days in November competing to build the coolest social media API.

Here’s two obnoxious gender-based stereotypes: “Men like sports, but women don’t” and “Ditto regarding computer-based stuff.”

Now, ESPN (more specifically, espnW, which bills itself as “ESPN’s online destination for women”) hopes to kill two stereotypical birds with one stone via espnW Hack Day 2012, an event which will bring women who happen to be sports-loving technophiles together to collaborate on a suite of digital sports-related products.

Hack Day–which takes place Noy. 9 and 10 at Stanford University–is a combination contest and networking event. Teams work to produce APIs for a variety of platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and others, with prizes for the best in each category.
The judges include Facebook software engineer Sophia Chung (who has written for the Huffington Post about the stereotypes she faces every day, as a woman in her profession); Sara Haider, software engineer at Twitter for Android; Danielle Tiedt, a former Bing executive  who is now Chief Marketing Officer at YouTube; and Rob King, ESPNs senior vice-president for digital media, with additional judges possibly to be added.

It’s not only women who would benefit by the smashing of stereotypes; software companies hoping to hire the best talent available would do well to recruit from the entire population rather than focus exclusively on the XY-chromosome half of it. That’s probably why the other Hack Day sponsors include Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, YouTube and Mashery.

Registration and admission are free, with various sponsors and participants announcing their involvement or recruiting new participants with the Twitter hashtag #hackespnw .

Photo via Mike Licht/Flickr

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