First-ever White House Codeathon targets Apps for Equal Futures

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On December 17, 2012, the White House hosted its first-ever Codeathon to support the "Equal Futures App Challenge" to create apps that inspire young women to become leaders in our democracy.

Yesterday, we hosted the first-ever White House Codeathon! 

The goal of this event was to support the Equal Futures App Challenge, a challenge to create apps that inspire girls and young women to become leaders in our democracy.  This challenge is in response to President Obama’s call to countries around the world to politically and economically empower women and girls. Seventeen girls from the Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., and the National Girls Collaborative Project worked with nineteen prominent women coders and designers (and one brave man!) to start developing and designing apps that inspire girls to run for office (either in school today or one day as adults), engage with their elected officials, learn how to become more effective leaders, and more.

During the codeathon the girls were inspired by guest speakers and facilitators Bonnie Shaw, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University; Emily Tavoulareas, Creative Strategist at iStrategyLabs; Jessica Grounds, Executive Director of Running Start; Clare Bresnahan, Programs Director for She Should Run; and Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer – all  of whom spoke about the importance of bringing more women into political leadership positions and how we can use technology to help achieve that goal. 

With this in mind, teams of coders, designers, and girls put their heads together and came up with nine great app ideas:

  • The Campaign Girl: Gets girls interested in running their own campaigns and allows girls to share their campaign speeches, posters, and other materials with a social network of other girls who are also running for office in their schools.
  • Not a Leader?  Think Again!: Teaches girls how the skills they employ every day – from listening well to standing up for others – are actually the very skills they need to be successful in politics.
  • iNominateU: Allows girls to nominate other girls they know to serve in leadership positions.
  • Pledgelings: Helps girls make pledges for their future and then meet those pledges.  Girls select from a list of state, local, or federal officials whose careers they admire, and the app gives them a step-by-step checklist of what they need to do to follow in those leaders’ footsteps.
  • xx Connect: Connects girls to women leaders and serves as a job finder and information research database.
  • Insp-her-ation Button: Provides a daily dose of inspirational content – including quotes, songs, facts and pictures – encouraging girls to become leaders.
  • Governleap: Demystifies the process of becoming a political leader by showing, step by step, the paths that various women have taken in their careers. 
  • Society of Exceptional Women: Connects girls to local meet-ups on civic participation in and connects them with role models in their area.
  • Gov Girls: Provides a discovery tool to learn about women in politics and allows girls to receive updates on their career achievements through social media and email alerts.

We were excited to see these apps begin to take shape – and we look forward to seeing the finished apps when they are submitted to the Challenge in January. 

We are also excited to announce that leaders of organizations that focus on women’s political participation – as well as an accomplished user interface expert – have offered to provide feedback on any app draft/concept submitted to by January 1, 2013 at 11:59pm EDT.  Click here to submit your screen shots for feedback.   

To allow people to take advantage of this offer, we have extended the deadline for final submissions to this Challenge to January 19th at 12:00am EDT (and applicants who submit their drafts for review by January 1 will receive feedback by January 7 to allow them to incorporate it into their apps before they submit them as final).

So... get coding!

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Codeathon-ers talk about Equal Futures for girls and young women.

Sarah Hurwitz is a Senior Advisor to the Council on Women and Girls

Brian Forde is the Senior Advisor to the U.S. CTO for Mobile and Data Innovation.

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