Hack of the Sexes Ignites Twitter Battle of the Sexes

By Cameron Scott 

social media, social networks, hackathons, gender, technologyDiversity has edged up to the foreground in recent weeks as a chronic problem in the tech industry, but one attempt to address gender diversity is meeting with criticism by male tech impresarios.

The Kaufman Labs-hosted Hack of the Sexes will pit “girls” versus “boys” in a Kansas City hackathon on April 26 – 27.

But organizer Sarah S. Hebert, of Curious Pixel, is fending off more than a few displeased tweets from male techies.

One developer suggested it would be better to have a competition among male-female pairs.

Hebert thanked the tweeter for the idea, but a board member at Hackbright, which provides women development training, recently said that Hackbright offers unisex instruction because male-female collaborative arrangements often result in the male partner taking over the project.

Mike Rundle, a longtime developer and entrepreneur, thought the “Girls vs. Boys nomenclature” seemed “immature.”

“Why not encourage collaboration instead of competition?,” he wondered.

Juan Gomez thought the competitive theme was a “step backwards” in the fight to “bridge the gender gap in the tech community.”

“Our intention was to help bridge the gap by creating an event to engage women,” Hebert replied.

“Friendly rivalry to get more women involved is all it is,” she said in response to another critical tweet.