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GoCardless sponsors Safe Circles' women's safety Hackathon

Sep 20213 min read

This September, GoCardless is supporting a new organisation, Safe Circles, by being Gold Sponsors of their first-ever Hackathon. Safe Circles was formed with the mission to bring the tech community together to launch and innovate products and services for women’s safety. Globally, one in three women are subjected to violence and Safe Circles believe that the future of women’s safety lies with innovating technological solutions.

Women’s safety is important to GoCardless and a subject that we take very seriously. In March, GoCardless team members formed a specific internal group to raise awareness about violence against women. The group undertook a company-wide survey which they then used to highlight how sexual harassment in public places had affected many of our colleague’s lives and led them to alter everyday habits, like walking with keys in their hands to protect themselves. This is why we’re very proud to be supporting Safe Circles’ mission and their Hackathon.

What is the Hackathon?

The Hackathon is Safe Circles' first community event and it has one simple purpose: to inspire the creation of technology that will make everyday life safer for women. Taking place over two weeks starting on 13th September, the Hackathon will consist of expert-led workshops, pitching events and mentorship opportunities.

There will be three to four sessions a day, with each day focusing on a different theme. Themes include: 

  • Sales and marketing

  • Design thinking

  • Tech stack components

  • Finances and investment

  • UI/UX design

  • Coding and prototyping

The full agenda can be found on the Safe Circles website. 

Hackathon missions

Safe Circles believe that there are five key areas of adversity for women. Through the support of tech businesses, charities such as Refuge, investors and universities, the five areas will be addressed throughout the Hackathon. 

Safety on the streets

65% of women of all ages are still experiencing unwanted sexual harassment in public places. There is currently a gap in awareness and suitable solutions and technology holds part of the key to helping women feel safer on the streets or able to quickly report an incident. Safe Circles have partnered with Crisis to shed some light on this and to inspire new ideas as part of the Hackathon.

Safety at work

Here at GoCardless, we have a positive history of championing women and gender equality. Internally we have our Inspiring group, which is set up and run entirely by employees who are passionate about equality at GoCardless. However, we understand that this isn’t the case in all workplaces. 63% of women aged between 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment at work and 71% of female restaurant workers have been sexually harassed at least once during their time in the restaurant industry.

Organisations HERmesa and Women on Boards will be joining the sessions to raise awareness of this mission throughout the two weeks.

Safety at home

WHO research suggests that on average the police will receive a call about domestic violence every 30 seconds. Technology has the potential to not only make women feel safer but to save lives. One example of this is Invisawear, an American safety device designed to look like an everyday accessory but connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone. A hidden button on the back sends emergency contacts your GPS location along with a warning of danger and it can even notify the emergency services.

With the support of Refuge and I Am Arla, the Hackathon will explore advocacy of women’s safety at home and how we can create additional innovations that will help to protect women and domestic violence victims. 

Safety on campus 

University should be an exciting time in peoples lives, exposing them to new avenues of education, socialisation and independence. However, currently, one in seven women experience physical abuse whilst at University. Safe Circles want to illuminate the issues surrounding gender-based harassment on campus, as well as providing solutions to the problem. To help them do this, they’re collaborating with universities, including the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham, for the Hackathon to get an insight into women’s safety on campus and to provide them with methods to improve. 

Safety online

Many organisations will be very familiar with cyber security training, but Safe Circles is looking to go a step further and discuss the need for improving safety specifically for women online. A leading report by Plan International, Free to Be Online, has revealed that 58% of young women worldwide aged 15-25 have been exposed to a spectrum of online violence.

Those taking part in the Hackathon will have a unique opportunity to learn more about these five missions, gaining a deeper understanding of prevalent issues that impact women’s safety, and also be part of the solution through coming together to create new and innovative solutions. 

How you can get involved 

The Hackathon will run from 13-24th September and you can join us in supporting the event by staying up to date with the latest event updates on their website and social media. The deadline for participating in this year’s event has now passed, but if you would like to join the Safe Circles community or offer to become a mentor then get in touch with them for more details. 

If you’re already participating then we look forward to seeing you there and supporting a great initiative.

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