Virtusa Celebrates International Women’s Day with Engineering Equity Hackathon

 65,000+ female coders participate globally, $10000 in scholarships awarded to Sri Lankan students 

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 09, 2023: Virtusa Sri Lanka celebrated International Women’s Day at Shangri-La, Colombo today, as part of its global campaign to close the gap in gender equity across the IT industry and STEM fields.

Virtusa, a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering and IT services and solutions, will host the global Engineering Equity hackathon, to spur innovation in tech solutions that advance gender equity while nurturing female talent. Over 65,000 female students from 9 countries including Sri Lanka registered for the hybrid event, which offers built-in mentoring along with job opportunities, scholarships, as well as cloud and technology certifications.

Scholarships worth USD 10,000 will be awarded to female participants through partner universities around the world, including a number of universities in Sri Lanka, namely the University of Colombo, University of Jaffna, University of Vavuniya and the Open University of Sri Lanka.

Ahead of the hackathon, Virtusa organized a week of hands-on learning for registrants, from coding basics to understanding the challenges with gender equity in technology. This was also an opportunity for participants to meet and speak with powerhouse female talent, and gain exposure to global personalities and interests.

The Engineering Equity hackathon aims to address and solve societal problems by encouraging participants to develop apps, platforms and programs based on four identified challenges. These include a chronic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subject gender gap at schools and universities, a shortage of female role models, the perception of technology careers for women and a lack of understanding of how technology can enable women to change the world.

“At Virtusa we believe that equity is about understanding unique requirements and providing the exact resources for a person to succeed,” said Sundar Narayanan, Chief People Officer at Virtusa. “Women will never reach gender equity in the STEM field, unless we apply the same rigor to solving gender equity that we apply to the most challenging engineering problems. The Engineering Equity hackathon aims to do just that, providing a platform to create solutions and training for women by women.”

To cap off the events, Virtusa hosted a number of virtual panels and fireside chats with female leaders, including a panel discussion in Sri Lanka, with the participation of several inspiring women across technology and other sectors, who shared their experiences and learnings on how to navigate the gender equity gap, and how to succeed in an ever-evolving career landscape. The panelists included Virtusa’s very own Senior Director of Finance – Dinoo de Mel and Associate Director of Delivery – Rangika Perera, alongside CEO and Co-founder of Hatch Works – Brindha Selvadurai, and Advocate and Educationist on Environmental and Human Rights – Anoka Abeyrathne. The panel was moderated by Hirushi De Silva, Associate Director – Business Consulting at Virtusa.

A livestream of the panel discussions will be available on Virtusa social media channels following the event to engage the broader public in the conversation.

The Leadership Team of Virtusa in Sri Lanka

The Panelists (From L to R: Hirushi De Silva, Brindha Selvadurai, Anoka Abeyrathne, Rangika Perera and Dinoo De Mel)

Attendees of the International Women’s Day celebration hosted by Virtusa

Denver DeZylva, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Facilities and Sustainability at Virtusa awarding scholarships to university students.

Roch Ferreira, Vice President & Global Head of Corporate Marketing at Virtusa awarding scholarships to university students.

Shenal Colonne, Vice President at Virtusa awarding scholarships to university students.

Sampath Thrimavithana, Head of HR (Sri Lanka) at Virtusa awarding scholarships to university students.