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  • Seven years of the Women in Games WIGJ not for profit organisation.

    WIGJ_logo_primary_red_580x150Women in Games WIGJ was formed in 2009, initially as an information only website called Women in Games Jobs. It objective was to help recruit more women into the games industry by promoting female role models and giving encouragement and information to those women seeking to work in the games industry.

    At the time only 1 in 15 of the games industry workforce or 6% were thought to be female and I had heard too many stories from people I had interviewed in my role as a recruiter not to realise that a problem of ‘gender imbalance’ existed. I was helped by Antonia Cullum, a former Producer at Channel 4 and Lionhead, working at Interactive Selection who was able to translate some masculine ideas on what might be useful to women into something that was genuinely helpful.

    In 2010 WIGJ collaborated in a half day conference in Brighton during Develop where Sheri Graner-Ray told of here experiences of women in games in the USA. At the conference I was able to read out a letter of support from the UK Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone, which was critical of the games sector and so started an active campaign to encourage change.

    In 2011 the opportunity for women to network together in a space away from most men was created with the formation of a professional networking group on LinkedIn. It was soon evident that this was a need for a location where women were able to talk freely about their experiences, good and bad, in the industry. And one of the first requests was for events to be organised for women who were keen to meet others. The first conference organised by WIGJ took place in September at the NH Harrington Hall Hotel near Gloucester Road in London. In March 2012 the first meetup in London took place with 55 women in games supporters signed up and attending.

    Last year WIGJ announces that its core objective is to double the number of women in games working in the UK and Europe by 2025. Jenny Richards-Stewart, CEO, explained: “We want more companies to step forward on issues of diversity and inspire the next generation of talent.”

    Now as a not for profit organisation, WIGJ membership stands at over 5000 globally with 1000 in the UK alone. The group is the largest of its kind in the world, alongside Women In Games International that does great things in North America.

    In the last month WIGJ broke the news that games still employs the fewest women in Creative Media but the sector has seen remarkable growth in recent years at 19% of the workforce, with 2000 employees, compared to 14% or 800 in 2012.

    WIGJ is very pleased to be supporting MCV and NewBay Media’s 2016 Women in Games Awards. There still remains much more to do.

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