Changing the ratio through innovation, technology and hackathons

We caught up with one of the most inspiring ladies in the field of technology, Sabeen Ali, Founder and CEO of AngelHack, the world’s largest and most diverse global hacker community to find out what has been the driving force behind her continuous fight for diversity within the workplace.

“I learnt to never give up, never stop trying and pressure your passion!”

The fourth edition of 4YFN will introduce Women4Tech, an MWC initiative that will be exclusively showcasing the Hack_D_Gap Global Challenge at 4YFN. A competition created to encourage startups from all over the world to present their innovative solutions that support gender diversity and equality in the tech industry. As Sabeen is a leader in the fight for digital diversity, discover her story below.

As CEO of AngelHack, can you tell us a bit about AngelHack, your background and why you decided to found this organisation?

“AngelHack is a female-owned, female-majority company that was founded in 2011. It started with one small hackathon, but the interest we received was overwhelming and exciting.  We just knew we were onto something big; something that was becoming increasingly popular in demand. Within two years, we were a global company organising hackathons in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the United States and more.

Ever since I was a child I had a very strong entrepreneurial spirit. As young as 8, I was making and selling crafts door to door for extra cash, mowing lawns and bathing neighbours pets. As I grew older I became increasingly interested in global issues, eventually going to the University of San Francisco to get my M.S. in Organisation Development and Change Management.


When I saw the power that these hackathons had, the power code had, I knew it was the perfect vehicle to promote innovation and positive social change.

At any number of these events, we would have dozens, sometimes hundreds of talented developers ready to code for 24 hours straight, creating something that would typically take the whole team months at a corporate company. The appeal of that has grabbed the attention of a lot of major brands, banks and governments who now want to host hackathons.”

We know you are a driver for gender equality within the tech industry. What has been the force behind this passion to bridge the gender gap?

“Having experienced discrimination first hand, I find it my obligation as a role model to help solve the problem and also to teach women how to address it.

I’ve seen a lot of research that clearly states that girls and women provide value to existing teams, organisations and also perform far better as CEO’s.

UN Women did a study recently that showed:

More women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organisational effectiveness, yet just 4% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

There are dogmatic business practices in place that are preventing women from achieving these roles and I want to help change that.”

Why is it important that we should be encouraging startups to find solutions to support gender diversity in the workplace?

“Women represent half of the global population, reinvesting 90% of their income into their families and communities – earning only 10% of the world’s income.

Studies have shown that advancing women’s equality can add trillions to economic growth.

It’s proven that investing in women creates a better world. This is a huge problem that does affect everyone, which is one of the main reasons we dedicated so much time towards addressing problems that prevent female entrepreneurship by educating people on these statistics and getting other influential tech groups involved.”

Any advice you can give to conclude this interview?

“My mothers’ determination that kept her going was something that always stuck with me. It taught me to never give up, never stop trying and pressure your passion.”


Women4Tech is on the global hunt for cutting-edge solutions that will disrupt the gender imbalance in the technology sector, so if you have developed an app or solution that creates awareness and supports gender diversity within the workplace, apply now to the Hack_D_Gap Global Challenge! Applications are open until 21 December!

Beyond this challenge taking place at 4YFN, Women4Tech will run a series of events and activities including interactive workshops; the Special Recognition Awards and inspiring panels, discussions and keynote speeches during Mobile World Congress and 4YFN. More info on this will be released on our website soon! Stay tuned!

Plus,  Sabeen Ali will be speaking LIVE on stage at 4YFN on Tuesday 28 February. She will be joining the Gender Diversity panel. Again, more info on this will be displayed on our website closer to the event.

4YFN 2017 takes place in Barcelona from 27 February – 1 March 2017. If you would like to attend as a visitor only, buy your ticket here!

To apply for the challenge, click here!