OPINION: Why we need more awards for women

On International Women’s Day, former MCV editor Lisa Carter discusses why the Women in Games Awards are important.

I’m delighted to be working with MCV and the brilliant Women in Games (WIGJ) organisation on the upcoming Women in Games Awards. The event will shine the spotlight on the most influential and aspirational people working in the UK games industry – who also happen to be female.

As with other female-focused awards, there are often questions raised about whether these events are relevant in today’s world of supposedly equal opportunities.

Personally, I’d like to see a time when these events aren’t required; when women aren’t under-represented generally in the business. Because at present just 14 per cent of people working in games are female, which is a pretty poor statistic.

And despite amazing leaps forward particularly in the last decade or so, men are still claiming the majority of senior management positions. By default, that means a lot of men are already picking up awards – in the games industry and elsewhere. Guys, you don’t need any more.

Of course, the games industry isn’t alone. Just last month a report by female professional development organisation The Pipeline found that women account for only 18 per cent of FTSE 100 senior executives. And 13 members of the FTSE 100 have no women in their senior executive teams at all.

That is why organisations such as The Pipeline and, closer to home, Women in Games (WIGJ) exist – to support women in business and promote their achievements.

If we’re to attract more women into games, we need to highlight role models across all sectors of the industry – the experienced executives, some of whom have been in the business right from the start; the creative talent; those in support roles; the rising stars.

And that’s another key reason why events like the Women in Games Awards and organisations such as WIGJ are so important.

Women enjoy being inspired by other women; they want role models. And while we can look on in awe at the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington, or even Kate Moss and Beyonce, we need role-models who are more, well, more like us. Or like who and where we’d like to be, possibly.

We want to know that we can achieve what they’ve achieved; that we don’t need an army of nannies and personal PAs, that we can do the school run if we choose, that we don’t have to be in the gym at 5am every day, and that we don’t necessarily have to Lean In (or even read the book).

Yes, it is important for us to use the Women in Games Awards to celebrate the female business leaders and unsung heroes in the business. But equally we hope the event will provide inspiration for women who are still climbing the career ladder, or are even just eyeing up that first rung.

The MCV Women In Games event takes place at the Hamyard Hotel, London on Thursday May 19th. Tickets are priced at just 49 and are available by clicking here.

At the event the Top 30 Women in Games will be honoured, while there will also be six special awards:

Rising Star – This category recognises a leading up-and-coming talent from any sector of the business. The judges expect most nominees to be under 30, but consideration will also be given to women who are new (less than three years) to the industry.

Businesswoman of the Year – An executive who has had a stellar 12 months in terms of driving a company forward and generating significant revenues.

Creative Impact – Recognising talent in games development and design.

Unsung Hero – Honouring the vital support roles in the industry, including QA, community managers, studio managers, PR and HR.

Campaigner – A special award for someone working for or with a games-related charity, or working within a community to use games as a force for change, inclusion, education or improvement.

Outstanding Contribution of the Year – The award will reflect upon the life of someone who has had a lengthy and successful career at the top of the industry, making positive contributions to the commercial success and public profile of the games industry.

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Lesley McDiarmid or Conor Tallon to find out more.

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