By now most people working in the games industry should have heard about the discussion around the #1ReasonWhy hashtag on Twitter. Said discussion brought up many women’s personal accounts of why they don’t feel comfortable working in the industry and mistreated as passionate players.
As a mixed environment-game developer, we have felt strongly about this topic since day one in 2009. We believe that it’s not only about encouraging more females to join the games industry, but also about establishing a positive environment for those already working in it. To be on the same page, let’s have a quick look at the current status of the computer game industry…
Breaking the Stereotype
Stereotypes have it that the games industry develops games for a mostly male audience, without taking into consideration that almost every second gamer is female. A recent esa study, “Essential Facts About The Computer and Video Game Industry”, found out that 47% of the American players are female. And that’s no small matter taking into account that America is the biggest market in the world. For the first time in computer game history, the male/female gamer ratio is almost balanced and that’s good news for everyone.
Wooga makes social games, which have an above-average female fanbase compared to the rest of the industry, meaning that around 70% of Wooga’s most passionate players are women. For us as Wooga, it’s pretty obvious that we can’t deliver a top notch experience without including our core audience in the development process.
What does it mean?
At Wooga, women have an essential part in every possible aspect of the developing process – from leading a game team as a product lead, to balancing the games’ economies to writing the code as a software engineer – to many more roles in Community Management, Human Resources, Public Relations, Marketing and Office Management.
At the moment, around 30% of the company are female – a good ratio for a tech company – but something that still needs to be improved. Of course equal treatment also means the same earning potential for everyone, which in the end ultimately depends on your actual skills and not on your gender. Wooga also endeavors to be a family-friendly place, where new arrivals can find a common future with parental leave options for both women and men (currently more men than women are on parental leave).
It’s really important to understand that it’s not about pointing fingers and saying that we are doing it perfectly right, because there is still a lot of room for improvement left, both at Wooga and in the rest of the industry. It is also not about fulfilling a certain male/female quota, because in the end decisions should be based on skills and talent.
How to take it from here?
We’re confident that the environment we’re building at Wooga is a step in the right direction, which means that we are looking for female additions to Wooga in every possible team. At the same time, we are also continuing to support some great initiatives out there.
Rails Girls: Founded 2010 in Helsinki/Finland, Rails Girls has become a global coding workshop series for women. It has taken place all over Europe, as well as in India, Brazil or the US. It teaches Ruby on Rails and introduces women to an exciting world of building web applications and software services on their own. At Rails Girls’ events, participants get hands-on insights into a development cycle – sketching, prototyping, basic programming paradigms and an introduction to the world of Rails.
Berlin Geekettes: A brand new offspring from Berlin’s buzzing start up scene, Berlin Geekettes aims at establishing a female tech grassroots structure to share wisdom and experience. By connecting female technology students with female professionals, the Berlin Geekettes want to develop an innovative mentorship program, providing support, connections, and inspiration. Check their website for upcoming meet-ups and potential mentorship opportunities in Berlin.
Digital Media Women: Wooga is excited to start cooperating with Digital Media Women in 2013. Founded in Hamburg by various female digital media natives (from social media experts to web designers to online journalists and bloggers), the registered association has managed to attract followers in other German cities like Berlin, Cologne or Munich. With its hands on approach, DMW wants to establish an open network for women, fostering exchange and advice.
Code Academy: http://www.codeacademy.com
Geek Girl Meetup: http://geekgirlmeetup.com/
Food for Thought:
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