Debugging D&I – Amiqus’ Liz Prince speaks to Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman

Women in Games is about to launch The Guide: Building A Fair Playing Field, which – as the name suggests – is a comprehensive resource for studios who are looking to make a change when it comes to gender equality. Amiqus’ business manager Liz Prince, who has contributed to the Guide, speaks to Women in Games CEO, and co-author of The Guide, Marie-Claire Isaaman …

TELL US ABOUT THE GUIDE AND HOW STUDIOS AND OTHER COMPANIES CAN ACCESS IT.

The Women in Games Guide: Building A Fair Playing Field has been researched and authored by our education and research consultant Sharon Tolaini-Sage and I over the past 18 months. It has been a labour of love! But we are delighted that it is ready for us to share with games and esports companies everywhere later this month.

At almost 150 pages, it is an important tool to help organisations of all sizes to implement and advance gender diversity and inclusion policies and programmes – providing information, inspiration, resources, first hand accounts, case studies, recommendations and more.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE CREATED THIS PUBLICATION?

There is an urgent need for change. Women still remain significantly underrepresented in the games industry. At the same time, we’ve all seen the well-publicised controversies around dysfunctional working cultures within some major publishers. Meanwhile, research shows that abuse and discrimination in online multiplayer games is increasing. This is a moment when integrating practical steps in every area to bring about gender equality is not just fair, it is achievable. And we believe that Building a Fair Playing Field can help bring about this change.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THE INDUSTRY FACES WHEN IT COMES TO BUILDING A FAIR PLAYING FIELD?

There are many challenges, but I think that a good starting point is to look at how we can encourage more women and girls to consider games as a career. We know that girls are keen gamers, so why are those same girls and young women not considering games as a career choice? The online abuse and toxicity they see in online games spaces may very well be deterring them, and if they’re seeing the reports of harassment and ‘frat boy’ culture within some publishers, that must make them think that maybe games is not a welcoming – or safe – place for them. And then we need to keep them in the industry.

We lose so many brilliant women in games and esports because they are not being supported and encouraged. When it comes to women’s health, we are seeing some great initiatives from forward-thinking studios on things like menopause support, shared maternity/paternity leave and more. But these companies are still in the minority – we need to see genuine widespread change to ensure that we don’t lose top talent because they are not being supported as women. And we need more women leaders who can help bring about change within individual organisations, but also to act as role models for women and girls everywhere.

At Women in Games, we are delighted to have almost 50 Corporate and Education Ambassadors from around the world who are working with us to bring about change when it comes to gender inclusion and equality. In addition, we have over 800 Individual Ambassadors who are working locally in over 50 countries to extend the reach and the influence of Women in Games. Global events like our upcoming Women in Games Festival (September 6th-17th) are a great platform for us to highlight the issues facing women in games, to address them and to debate solutions. There is so much to do when it comes to gender inclusion in games, but we are encouraged by seeing the desire from studios and other companies around the world to help us tackle the challenges.

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