Young students harness data visualization to champion gender equality at Hackathon


Team GenderStellar at the Hackathon working on their project. Photo: Tandans Data Science Consulting
Team GenderStellar at the Hackathon working on their project. Photo: Tandans Data Science Consulting

Imagine a room alive with the energy of young minds, fueled by a passion for gender equality and the power of data. This was the scene at the “Data Visualization and Advocacy for Gender Equality Hackathon”, bringing together students from diverse disciplines to transform data into compelling social media campaigns for gender equality.

In collaboration with the Gender Equality Monitoring Association-CEID, Tandans Data Science Consulting, and Dissensus Research, the hackathon was part of the 'Capacity Development Programme and Technical Support on Gender Data'. Alongside modular trainings, mentorship support, and a digital storytelling workshop, the hackathon provided a platform for in-depth research on gender issues and the development of innovative solutions. Participants utilized evidence-based approaches and data visualization techniques to craft their campaigns, emphasizing the critical role of data in advocating for gender equality.

The Hackathon, open to university students, hosted 30 participants from various majors and areas of expertise. Six teams, each consisting of five students, competed in the event. Team Themis secured first place with their project on women’s political participation in local government. Team Gender Benders came second with their campaign “Equal Play, Not Masculine Play”, drawing attention to gender equality in sports. Team GenderStellar took third place with their social media campaign aimed at improving post-disaster relief processes from a gender equality perspective. 

“I had the opportunity to engage in intensive teamwork, producing reliable information from data and enhancing my skills in information communication and visualization. Our project on women's participation in local governance allowed us to map data and present it effectively. It was a learning opportunity for me in the field of data science and information communication,” says Gün Ünal, PhD student and member of the winning Team Themis.

“To increase women’s participation in professional sports, strengthen the awareness of gender equality in sports, and raise awareness of the masculine language used in sports, we developed our project ‘Equal Game Not Masculine’. We are thrilled to win the second place!” says İdil Kirman, a university student and member of the Team Gender Benders.

Our project addresses the worsening of gender disparities following natural disasters. By identifying immediate and long-term needs using gender data, we aim to eliminate gender-blind policies and provide rapid response support to women survivors.

Şule Eraltay, university student and Hackathon participant
Şule Eraltay at the Data Visualization and Advocacy for Gender Equality Hackathon. Photo: Tandans Data Science Consulting

Over the two-day event, teams addressed diverse topics including masculinity, women not in education, employment, or training (NEET), and the gendered dimensions of poverty. The competition showcased the participants’ dedication to addressing gender disparities through data-driven solutions.

The Hackathon’s jury was composed of experts in gender equality and media communication, including Zeliha Ünaldı, UN Women Türkiye Deputy Country Director, Gülay Toksöz, gender statistics expert, Gülay Günlük Şenesen, gender expert, Suncem Koçer, Media and Communication Specialist, and Beyza Doğuç, musician and content producer, Ezgi Toprak, youth representative from The jury measured the effectiveness and innovation of the projects in terms of media and social communication.

The hackathon underscored the importance of using data and technology to advocate for gender equality, inspiring a new generation of activists committed to creating a more equitable society. The event was organized under the “Strong Civic Space for Gender Equality” project implemented by UN Women and funded by the European Union.