Closing the gender gap in tech fields - Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon case study


Apr 22, 2018

anita moonshot codeathon equal in tech

In celebration of Systers’ 30th anniversary ChallengeRocket and Anita Borg Institute organized Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon. The challenge aimed to bring all people identifying as women together in effort to promote their equal participation in tech fields, mainly software development.

Systers is a community was founded by Anita Borg herself in 1987. Their community provides a forum for women involved in various technical aspects of computing. It’s an inviting environment that helps network, get advice, and find partners to collaborate with. Today Systers in world’s largest email community for women in tech fields.

Challenge in numbers

Reach: 98 countries

Participants: 883

Projects: 75

Duration: 3 months

Participants from 98 countries have signed up to take part in Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon, and vast majority comes from India, United States, and Nigeria. Over the period of three months, starting on December 1st, all the way to March 1st, 883 participants have been working hard to submit an astonishing number of 75 unique projects.


We’d honestly love to go over each and every submitted project, because the ideas are invaluable, but we have to be realistic here, this isn’t the right place to publish a novel. We will present our top picks that we believe best represent what the whole initiative was about.


The creators of this project set out with a goal of uniting women in work environments by means of a mobile app. Their social platform is filled with various sections relevant to the problem of women’s employment in tech fields. Its users can upload their resumes directly to apply for a job. On top of that there’s a forum to discuss any and every work-related matters, and when peers aren’t able to provide help there’s also a “mentors” section to reach out to more experienced individuals. In the spirit of enabling women to develop their programming skills, the app also informs about upcoming hackathons and meetups. This project was chosen the best solution in the Systers voting. Winning team received tickets to Grace Hopper Celebration 2018.

Rosie - Undermining Language Detector

If you ever find yourself being uncertain about your skills, suggestions, or yourself in general in your workspace when communicating with peers then this project is exactly for you. A Google Chrome extension detects words that indicate undermining language in your emails and suggest more bold, confident equivalents. Why? Because you are a professional and your emails should represent that! This project was featured and indicated as a number one in the Anita’s judges voting. Team members won Grace Hopper Celebration full scholarships.

Clean Water AI

What would you say if thanks to the IoT application you could be able to detect the water quality in real time? Clean Water AI is a device which can be used as well offline in areas where internet may not be accessible. In addition, it’s capable of detecting cholera, e-coli, and other harmful bacterias through single device rather than different test kits. This AI based solution makes it a lot easier and cost effective to help communities around the world. This project has received Honorable Mention in the competition.

Good Neighbors

Would you like to help other people in simple tasks, but at the same time you don’t want to impose yourself and make them feel uncomfortable? What if they ask you openly to give a hand? The Good Neighbors app is built to solve the need for "micro-assistance" within local communities. More than often, seniors or people with disability need help with small chores, computer support, or a ride to a nearby place. Such assistance requires little time, and it is cumbersome to go through a volunteering coordinator for these small tasks.

This solution was appreciated and awarded the Community Campaigner title. Participants won computer Lab for their local high school.

Lane Changer

How many times you were stuck in traffic jam and wondered how fast you could have gotten to your destination if you had chosen different road? Lane Changer is a traffic management system which provides real-time lane change recommendation to reduce commute time and fuel consumption. The lane change recommendation probability is converted into a gradient and the lanes are assigned a colour (red, green, yellow) based on traffic flow in the lane. The time and fuel consumed are recorded to calculate total savings at the end of the trip.

Author of this unconventional app was announced an Inspiring Innovator and won Virtual Reality Development Kits.

V for Vagina

Menstruation, vagina, infections, and combination of those have been taboo words for far longer than some of the women dealing which such problems have been alive. Frankly speaking, such problem shouldn't exist to begin with, but reality is different, and it’s time to fix this. If you have a smartphone you can use this Augmented Reality app to help identify infections, educate women on the origin of such problems, and help prevent those issues from occurring in the future.


Women should not worry about commuting alone, this world is open for all of us equally to explore. An Android app is fed data from various sources to interpret it in search of information about police presence, accidents, CCTV cameras, etc, to mark them on the map. When selecting a destination the app will present two routes, one being the quickest one provided by Google Maps, other being the safest, calculated by the app itself, taking into consideration all of the hotspots it has gathered.

Breast milk reservoir for new-borns

Breast milk is the only suitable nourishment for infants in the first six months of their lives, yet in some countries, however, feeding them with the most natural of foods isn’t all that possible because of many financial and social problems. This project aims to save newborn babies by encouraging lactating mothers to donate excess milk that could later be allocated to those who need it.

Social impact

Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon was focused on solving social, economic, and cultural issues affecting women around the world. Projects set out to address them varied in ideas and sources of inspiration, they were personalized to needs of each demographic, making the whole challenge incredibly diverse.

If you’re interested in discovering more of those inspiring projects, click here, enjoy!

The problem

Gender gap in tech industry is a real issue that many seem to dismiss, and Systers are our to raise awareness in this regard. For every woman in tech industry there are three men in the same profession, and those numbers have been getting continuously worse for the last decade. Of all students majoring at Computer Science in Harvard, only 25% of them are women. It is clear that, for one reason or another, female workers are a rarity in the professions like, for example, software development, despite their passion for STEM subjects in their childhood, as evidenced by a study by Katie F. Gugliotta for University of Tennessee.

The goal

Systers intended to achieve three main objectives with Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon. First one was to increase the number of women working in STEM fields. Second of all they wanted to raise awareness of possibilities to develop STEM-related skills for women, and lastly, to build women’s confidence in their equal abilities to perform jobs in the tech field. In order to fulfill those intentions, the only real solution here is to create opportunities for women to engage in tech-related activities so that they themselves become aware of their potential that is being wasted otherwise. As such, the idea for the hackathon in question came to be, which turned out to be a major success.

We would love to congratulate Systers and Anita Borg Institute for such an inspiring initiative, as well as to thank them for letting us be a part of this amazing journey. We hope that our paths cross again in the future!

Now is your turn!

Our platform is open for everyone, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with even the craziest of ideas for a hackathon. We’ll pick up the glove, and ensure the experience is as smooth as possible for all of us. Having worked with companies like IBM, Oracle, Honda, or NVIDIA we’re certain we can help you organize a challenge like no other. We have a lot to offer, so take a look around, we can’t wait to hear from you!