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A Hackday For Teen Girls Tries to Close Gender Gap in India's Tech Sector

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 26 2013

More than 200 bright young girls came together at the Satvika 2013 technology conference last week for a hackday created just for them. It is one way entrepreneur Deepak Ravindran is pushing to close the gender gap in India's technology sector.

"Girls shouldn't be left behind in a world where technology is becoming more important," Ravindran told Girl Effect. "They should play a key role, and should be highlighted in tech development to help them engage more in the conversation."

The girls collectively created 40 mobile apps, including #baby, a source of information on infant vaccines, and #toursafe, which provides suggestions for safe travel – not an insignificant problem to tackle, considering the number of rape cases in India making headlines recently. The winning app, #preg, helps women keep track of their pregnancy, sending them text messages about necessary tests and visits to the doctor.

Ravindran founded the successful start-up Innoz, which sponsored the Satvika 2013 event. He first made a splash on India's tech scene with SMSGyan, a search engine service for simple feature phones. At the end of 2012, according to Wired, SMSGyan had 120 million active users, an annual revenue of ₤1.8 million (US$2.8 million), and planned to expand into Dubai and the U.S.

Satvika 2013, however, is only one event made for girls. Ravindran got the ball rolling, but only time will tell if it will develop into something bigger, along the lines of Girls Who Code or Black Girls Code in the U.S.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.