Debugging D&I – Amiqus’ Liz Prince on how and why we should be celebrating International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and with the UN’s theme for 2023 being incredibly relevant to games, Amiqus’ Business Manager Liz Prince looks at how studios can celebrate this event …

We know that the games industry has a problem with gender diversity, with representation of women working in games estimated at between 24 and 30 percent. Certainly, in development that figure is at the bottom end of the scale, if not lower.

We also know that if we want a more gender diverse workforce, the industry at large and studios as individuals should be demonstrating that the sector is welcoming, encouraging and nurturing of women. There are many ways that we can do this, but an obvious starting point is to acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day, which takes place every year on March 8. This year there’s another great reason to support this initiative too:

The United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ – which couldn’t be more apt for the games industry. It’s worth looking at what the UN says about it: “The United Nations Observance of IWD recognises and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities… Bringing women and other marginalised groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.”

So, as an industry, what can – and what should – we do to highlight and celebrate International Women’s Day? A starting point is to recognise and publicly acknowledge the day, as studios can also do with all cultural, religious and other days/times of importance such as Pride, Black History Month, World Autism Day, and so on. (A really useful resource is the Diversity Calendar which can be found on the Inclusive Employers website).

Celebrate International Women’s Day via your social media channels, give a voice to the women who work in your studio, host talks in your workplace and encourage your staff to attend events that celebrate women and encourage their career development. The MCV/DEVELOP Women in Games Awards (March 1, 2023) is a great event that champions talent, and also allows women in all areas of the industry to network. Meanwhile, the Women in Games Careers, Development & Networking Expo (March 9th) will provide career development guidance and inspiration. This calendar date is also a good opportunity for studios to review their EDI policies and initiatives…

Creative Assembly has won awards for being a Best Place To Work and the studio’s director of talent and social impact Emma Smith has won the G Into Gaming Diversity accolade. So, the studio is a good example of how to approach these important events. For International Women’s Day last year, the company ran expert-led sessions on how to be a good ally; this year it is focusing on balance and equity in the workplace, discussing topics like parenthood and neurodiversity.

Smith also highlights that it’s important that celebrating IWD is not just about ticking a box for diversity: “It’s not that this conversation only happens on International Women’s Day – we have an active employee-led Women’s Group, and the industry as a whole has many fantastic women-focused organisations – but the date marks an opportunity to refocus momentum globally, recognise progress but also highlight where inequalities remain.”

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