New Imagine Cup Competitions With a Focus on Women
Written by Sue Gee
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Microsoft has announced two new competitions - one of them for all-female teams - that address "women's issues". Will this will help encourage female participation in the student technology competition.
Last year, nearly 20 percent of students at the Worldwide Finals of the Imagine Cup were female which, given how under-represented women are in the IT industry, isn't too bad. But there's obviously room for improvement and the two new competitions are intended to help redress the gender imbalance.
The Women's Athletics App Challenge has been established in partnership with the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team with the idea of inspiring female developers to create software related to sports, health or fitness. Teams of up to four women can compete by writing an app using Microsoft tools and technologies for sports, fitness, or athletics. Winners will receive $1,000 USD plus a trip to Seattle to see the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team play an visit Microsoft to meet with our Chief People Officer, Lisa Brummel, who co-owns the Storm. The submission deadline is June 14, 2013
The other competition, the Women's Empowerment Award, established in partnership with UN Women, is open to teams that have reached the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals irrespective of gender. The first prize is $12,000 and second prize is $8,000 and they will be awarded to the projects that best address economic inequality, access to technology and other resources, gender-based violence, leadership and political participation, or other critical women’s issues. Applicants will be judged on the potential impact their projects can have on the lives of women, including feasibility to address the target issue and the quality of the application.
Commenting on this new award Kristin Hetle, director of Strategic Partnerships of UN Women, said:
"Students can be change agents; they can revolutionize the world we live in," said "By harnessing the power of technology, they can bring attention to issues that women, in particular, face every day. The Women's Empowerment Award will encourage and reward students who choose to focus their energy on creating positive change for women globally."