Celebrating Women in Games

 

“Gamer”. Say that to most people and it’ll conjure an image of a man. Probably. While the age can vary – mostly the gender does not.

However, more women than ever are playing games these days. Females now make up 35% of the players on the largest gaming streaming site Twitch which is not quite the 50/50 balance we’d love to see, but it’s getting closer!

Could the unbalance in the games industry partly down to the fact many women don’t see themselves as gamers? My 79-year-old grandmother definitely wouldn’t, but her obsession with Candy Crush says differently!

What’s the difference between playing games and being a ‘gamer’? Is there one? As Katie Chironis points out – they are one and the same!

 

 

But as the number show, there is a growing army of female games lovers and many of them are trailblazing their way into the industry - an industry which for many years has been extremely male dominated! We know that sometimes being a woman in games can be tough, and a lot of work is being done to try and make this better and help women into the industry.

In a twitter thread started by @beccahallstedt, women came in droves to talk about why they love to make games and the main themes were unsurprising.

 

 

 

 

 

Women in Games

Seeing women in the industry, women playing games, women running companies. That can give future generations the inspiration they need to join in the fun, no matter who they are.

March 8th is International Woman’s Day, so we wanted to celebrate these women making their mark on the industry and find out what inspires them!

 

Who inspires you in the industry? (or from a game!)

  • Emma Smith, leads Creative Assembly’s Legacy Project and sits on the Next Gen Skills Employer Steering Group

“The games industry is full of people whose passions have become their careers, and that is such an exciting environment to work in.

Something I find amazing about games is that we, as a collective, feel a sense of ease around each other because of the commonality of loving games. That immersion, that other world; you can share your own experience with someone else who has their own and is equally as excited by it. This is regardless of age, gender, language, culture, background, it really doesn’t matter. There is definitely a sense of belonging and I love how we can come together.”

  • Lana Zgombić, Associate Producer

“There are so many amazing women in the industry that I admire who have paved the way of acceptance for the rest of us. I am grateful to them for making the industry see we're not going anywhere and consequently allowed for me to meet and work with the fellow ladies of Bossa. What a group of badasses!”

 

  • Kalliopi Tsavari, Junior Programmer

“Hollie Bennet really inspired me as a woman in games. She started as a midwife, but then she decided to follow her dream. She ended up being the community manager of Sony PlayStation Access for many years and she just recently moved on her career by joining CD Projekt Red. I really hope I can do great things in the future not only as a programmer but as a woman in games as well. It is one of my goals to inspire people and share my story so they can also see that you have to follow your dreams no matter the obstacles and no matter what other people say.”

 

  • Bethanie Brownfield, Snr QA Technician

“Jane McGonigal using games to help people recover from depression and many other things is quite inspiring to me.”

 

  • Kexin Li, Game Developer

“Starcraft [inspired me to get into gaming]. My dad bought it when it was, I think 1998, I saw him secretly playing it at midnight, when my mum went to sleep.”

 

  • Chantel Hurley, QA Tester

“All of the people I work with [at Bossa] inspire me. The work they do, the passion they have and the general outlook and personality they bring to the studio.”

 

  • Sadie Jarvis, Freelance Games, and Media Journalist
    “Hollie Bennett is the person who first told me to go for it and aim towards a career in gaming. Previously of PlayStation Access fame and now Head of UK Communications at CD Projekt Red. I first found Hollie on YouTube where she did an episode about how she got into the industry once and something just sparked inside me. She described how she went into midwifery initially and made the change to gaming through becoming a community manager for a Final Fantasy group and networking. She spoke to me on Twitter afterward and encouraged me to give YouTube a go.”

 

  • Kat Welsford, Growth Marketing Manager

“Honestly the other women at Bossa, and in the industry [inspire me]. I'd love to be as cool as some of the better-known names, but everyone around me inspires me every day.”

 

  • Becky Frost, Event’s and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Special Effects

“I follow a lot of artists and indie game devs on Twitter – seeing their work is always really inspiring to me… being able to create something beautiful from thin air like that just fascinates me!”

 

And of course, we couldn’t write a blog around International Women’s Day without taking a look at some of the empowering female characters in games.

 

Female characters in games

Image source: Get2Gaming

 

What character do you relate most to and why?

 

  • Emma Smith, leads Creative Assembly’s Legacy Project and sits on the Next Gen Skills Employer Steering Group

“Ash from Pokémon Go as we work tirelessly to look for the rarest creatures, to help evolve them on their quest to mightiness in game development."

Image Source: NS

 

  • Becky Frost, Event’s and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Special Effects

“I find Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series pretty relatable… She’s an NPC that acts as the player's secretary in the game, guiding them through the tutorials then sticking around like a little helper throughout. She’s clumsy and a bit of a workaholic (guilty!) but she’s also extremely organised, endlessly cheerful, patient and friendly – which I’m always trying to be!”

Isabelle from Animal CrossingImage source: Nintendo

 

  • Chantel Hurley, QA Tester

“Um.... Hard to pick just one person that I relate to, there are many, many characters from games that I feel like I can relate to. Ada Wong from Resident Evil mainly because she is a driven, strong woman and awesome too! Another character I relate to would be Tiny Tina from Borderlands because she's a bit crazy and likes dnd ^-^”

Ada Wong from Resident Evil

Image source: Capcom

 

  • Bethanie Brownfield, Snr QA Technician

“I relate to Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite the most. Her narrative of escaping a prison speaks to me. A prison that she thinks will protect her but is actually meant to suppress her.”

help women into the industry

Image source: Irrational Games

 

  • Kalliopi Tsavari, Junior Programmer

“Lara Croft: because she is a very strong, smart and independent woman. I can say that when I was a very small kid I was playing at being Lara Croft and I was going around climbing the mountains and swimming in the sea in my home island of Symi, in Greece. It was amazing moments of my childhood!”

  • Lana Zgombić, Associate Producer

“Lara Croft, she's been in my life for as long as I remember and I always loved how intelligent, independent, athletic and driven she is. We share the love of history and unconventional hobbies. Back in the day, she was different from all other female characters and I liked that because I felt the same way in my environment.”

Lara Crodt

Image source: Square Enix

 

  • Kat Welsford, Growth Marketing Manager

"I'd like to think I'm a bit Zarya, I'm quite strong and smart and so is she. I also related pretty heavily to the Kinsie in Saints Row (Although that's mostly wishful thinking) as she's so smart & badass."

Zarya

 Image source: Blizzard Entertainment

 

“As a girl growing up the only real gaming icon for me was Lara Croft, but really, I couldn't identify with a wealthy, perfect figured, genius. I just liked that she was a she. However, now we are starting to experience incredible stories through the eyes of women far more often, meaning there are more personalities for us girls to aspire to. For me, the most relatable protagonist is Kassandra from Assassin's Creed Odyssey.  Ubisoft made the excellent decision this year to allow players to choose the gender and sexuality of the protagonist. Not only that but they made a female character that whilst beautiful in her own right, doesn't fit today's media standards of beauty. This meant that for the first time since picking up a controller at the age of 4, I was able to see myself in the lead character.”

Image source: Ubisoft

 

And my favourite? Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn is pretty badass. 

Aloy

Image source: Ubisoft

Not conforming to rules or regulations and basically not giving a shit about what other people think. She’s changing opinions and minds, much like many of the women working in games today!

 

Equality in Games

 

To read more from these ladies, and other inspirational voices in the industry, keep an eye on our blog as I’ll be looking deeper into the issues of equality in games as well as sharing the views and findings from our Games & Interactive Salary and Satisfaction survey.

We’ll also be bringing you coverage of what all the studios are up to on Friday. I can’t wait to see how everyone is celebrating and will be doing live updates throughout the day on our “International Women’s Day Celebrations” blog!

 

If you’re a woman in Games (or man - we don’t discriminate here!) and would like to discuss your next move in the industry, get in touch for a discreet chat or take a look at our Games and Interactive jobs

 

About the author Katie Jones

Katie is our candidate queen and spends her time listening to people paint pictures of their dream job ready for whenever that job pops up. Katie’s claim to fame is meeting the Queen which in turn led to movie stardom (sort of)- ask her about it!

More news by Katie Jones

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