White House hosts its first codeathon

Apps for Equal Futures (Photo: White House) Apps for Equal Futures (Photo: White House)

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011, President Obama said, “the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.”

To honor that commitment, the White House hosted its first codeathon, Apps for Equal Futures, aimed at inspiring girls run for elected office, engage with elected officials and learn more about effective leadership.


The event was part of the the White House Council on Women and Girls Equal Futures App Challenge, done in collaboration with the Equal Futures Partnership, an organization built to break down barriers to women’s political participation and economic empowerment.

Guest speakers and facilitators at the event included Bonnie Shaw, adjunct professor, Georgetown University; Emily Tavoulareas, creative strategist, iStrategyLabs; Jessica Grounds, executive director, Running Start; Clare Bresnahan, programs director, She Should Run; and Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer.

Each spoke on the importance of bringing more women into political leadership positions and how to leverage technology to help achieve that goal.

Teams of coders and designers put their heads together and came up with the following 9 app ideas:

1. The Campaign Girl: Gets girls interested in running their own campaigns and allows girls to share their campaign speeches, posters, and other materials with a social network of other girls who are also running for office in their schools.

2. Not a Leader? Think Again!: Teaches girls how the skills they employ every day – from listening well to standing up for others – are actually the very skills they need to be successful in politics.

3. iNominateU: Allows girls to nominate other girls they know to serve in leadership positions.

4. Pledgelings: Helps girls make pledges for their future and then meet those pledges. Girls select from a list of state, local, or federal officials whose careers they admire, and the app gives them a step-by-step checklist of what they need to do to follow in those leaders’ footsteps.

5. xx Connect: Connects girls to women leaders and serves as a job finder and information research database.

6. Insp-her-ation Button: Provides a daily dose of inspirational content – including quotes, songs, facts and pictures – encouraging girls to become leaders.

7. Governleap: Demystifies the process of becoming a political leader by showing, step by step, the paths that various women have taken in their careers.

8. Society of Exceptional Women: Connects girls to local meet-ups on civic participation in and connects them with role models in their area.

9. Gov Girls: Provides a discovery tool to learn about women in politics and allows girls to receive updates on their career achievements through social media and email alerts.

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