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Improving Equality in Workplace

Undergraduate Student’s App to Promote Women’s Rights Won in All-Female Hackathon

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Mashiat Lamisa (third right) and her teammates Ilana Zimmerman (second right) and Dama Correch (third left) received the Empower Women Through Technology Prize at the cmd-f all-female* hackathon held at the University of British Columbia.
Mashiat Lamisa (third right) and her teammates Ilana Zimmerman (second right) and Dama Correch (third left) received the Empower Women Through Technology Prize at the cmd-f all-female* hackathon held at the University of British Columbia. [Download Photo]
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Division of Integrative Systems and Design undergraduate student Mashiat Lamisa, who is currently on exchange at the University of British Columbia (UBC), received a prize at Vancouver’s first and largest all-female* hackathon “cmd-f”, which was held at UBC on the International Women’s Day weekend (Mar 7-8, 2020).

Organized for the second year, the 24-hour hackathon attracted 278 female* hackers in 70 teams. Mashiat and her two UBC team members (Dama Correch, undergraduate student in cognitive science, and Ilana Zimmerman, master’s student in computational linguistics) created the Know Your Rights app and won the Empower Women Through Technology Prize sponsored by the company SAP. Their app is one of the 12 winning projects among the 61 project submissions.

Leveraging the power of crowdsourcing, their app empowers women and other gender minorities to know their rights when dealing with gender wage gaps, harassment, and other problems in the workplace. The user first fills out a form and summarizes their experience. The app will then display recommendations, the Canadian law being violated, next steps, and resources available. Additionally, the output displays a similar past user experience and the resolution experienced along with a similarity score comparing the two experiences.

“One of the best highlights of coming to exchange in a very STEM-based university like UBC has been joining this all-female* hackathon where I got to meet many supportive and like-minded women from diverse backgrounds and countries to develop something impactful. It makes me realize more that the goal of any engineering student in the world is to develop things that creates ripples in existing systems,” said Mashiat.

“This experience has boosted my confidence in tech as a woman, giving me more reason to hack again in the future,” she added.

 

Related link: cmd-f 2020

 

* Remarks from organizers: The cmd-f team would like to acknowledge that “female” or “women” is not an accurate description for many people and it may make some feel unwelcome. * is used to specifically and intentionally include cis and trans women, as well as non-binary, agender and intersex people.