The Women in Games Festival is an opportunity for the global games community to come together and highlight the importance of gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the games and esports sectors.
The two-week event has already seen the in-person Launch event in London, along with the virtual Careers & Networking Expo. Still to come are the Creative Leadership Labs (September 12th & 13th), the Women in Games Annual Conference (September 14th & 15th), the Women in Games Global Awards (September 17th ), along with a series of Satellite Events hosted by allies and community groups around the world.
Outside of the Conference, which has a ticket price of $30 for the two days, all events are free to attend, and the schedule has been tailored to cover all time zones, ensuring it’s a truly global occasion.
“This is an important event for Women in Games,” says CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman. “Whilst it is heartening to see many studios taking steps to make games a more welcoming and inclusive place for women and those identifying as women, there is still so much to do be done when it comes to gender inclusivity across the industry.
“The Women in Games Festival is our chance to shine the spotlight on the issues facing women, to showcase their achievements, and to offer advice and guidance to those companies who want to make the industry a better place. We look forward to welcoming women and allies from around the world to our virtual events.”
Need To Know: About Women In Games
Women in Games has a mission to build and maintain a fair, equal and safe environment empowering girls and women in games and esports. Its work is focused on six priority areas, which have been identified as representing the biggest barriers to women’s progression in games, namely:
- Fairness: equity and parity of pay and opportunity
- Career Pathways: particularly fostering leadership culture
- Toxicity and Harassment: in workplace and gaming spaces
- Education: inspiring, developing, engaging and retaining talent
- Diverse Representation: of women in platforms, products and services
Highlights from the Women In Games Annual Conference
This year, the Women in Games Annual Conference (September 14th and 15th) takes its inspiration from the recently published Women in Games Guide: Building a Fair Playing Field, exploring in-depth issues of leadership and fairness. Here are some of the highlights:
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 14TH
Leadership & Its Role In Promoting Cultural Change
Lisa Opie, MD, Ubisoft Leamington Spa
Chanel Ward, Director of DEI, 2K Games
Helen Kennedy, Professor of Creative & Cultural Industries, University of Nottingham
Organising Inclusive Informal Events In The Games Industry
Anna Ozimek, University of York
Carolina Rueda, University of York
Women in Games Education
Dr Ruth Falconcer, Head of Division: Games Tech & Maths, Abertay University
Rhoda Daly, Senior Lecturer Games Design, University of Central Lancashire
Dr Hannan Maki, Lecturer Games Design, Southampton Solent University
Shenae Rivers, Executive Director, Urban Developers
Progressive Recruitment Techniques &Inclusive Hiring
Liz Prince, Business Manager, Amiqus
Kyra Chan, Chief of Staff, Netspeak Games
My Story: Cynthia Williams, President, Wizards of the Coast
Gender Equality: How does gender equality, intersectionality and sustainability work in a studio environment?
Jennifer Estaris, Game Director, ustwo Games
My Story: Yvonne Harrison, CEO, Women in Football
In Conversation with Múkami Kinoti Kimotho, Chief Girl Crusader, Royelles: Entrepreneur, Storyteller, Creative and Community activist.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15TH
Coffee & Conversation with the Nerd Pirates
Perspectives from the Asia Chapter of Women in Games
Dan Sun, Riot Games & Women in Games Asia
Janni Jensen, Asian Electronic Sports Federation & Women in Games Asia
Values Driven Policies aimed at Creating a Fair Working Culture
Andreas Lieb, Director HR, InnoGames
Sandra Wandschneider, Talent Development Manager, InnoGames
Jennifer Knaack, Team Lead CRM, InnoGames
Safe in Our World: Supporting Mental Health Awareness
Benn Weibe, Safe In Our World
Rosie Taylor, Safe In Our World
Hannah Rutherford, Safe In Our World
Sky Tunley-Stainton, Safe In Our World
Sarah Sorrell, Safe In Our World
A Focus On Voices from Ukraine
Charly Harbord – Women in Games
Nika Avayan, COO, Frogwares
Anna Moshak, Ukrainian freelance character artist and illustrator
How Women Have Always Belonged
Mary Kenney, Author, Gamer Girls
Education Initiatives from Poland & SPIDOR
Dr Dominika Urbanska, Managing Director, SPIDOR
The Role of Research and Data in Revealing Attitudes to Fairness
Mary Brune, Research Director, Newzoo
Online Community Culture; Values, Challenges and Solutions
Lauren Kaye, Women in Games & She Plays Games
Alex Davis, Head of Community, Neonhive
Ladell Smith, Associate Social & Community Manager, Auroch Digital
Ethical Game Design & Education
Jessie Contour, Assistant Professor, School of Design University of TX at Austin
The Women In Games Global Awards
The Women in Games Global Awards round up the two-week Festival, taking place on Saturday September 17th at 7pm on the Women in Games Twitch channel. Here we showcase the brilliant women and companies who are shortlisted for awards:
Amplifier of Diversity in the Industry – Media
Honouring those who are committed to bringing about change. Those working in the media who play a significant role in promoting, amplifying and supporting diversity in the industry.
- Emilie Karlsten Hedgren
- Emily Evans
- Katy Berry
- Sarah Buric
- Savina Ciaramella
Community Group making an impact in Diversity
Community groups support the grass roots of the games industry and help connect people across the globe around games and gaming. This award is to honour a group which has had a significant impact.
- Code Coven
- Melanin Gamers
- Spillhuset Bergen
- Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo
Individual Diversity Advocate
Shining a light on the people who are working to improve diversity in the games industry through their advocacy, actions and support.
- Dhayana Sena
- Dr. JC Lau
- Jennifer Lufau
- Sara Machado
- Tamsin O’Luanaigh
Most Inclusive Esports Initiative
This award celebrates the events, interventions, programs and actions which are helping bring about real change in the esports industry.
- DivE – Non Profit Organisation to promote gender diversity in Esports
- Indie Esports Platform
- The Rebecca Heineman Cup
- Women in Esports Initiative – British Esports
- Women In Games France Esports
Most Inclusive Video Games Initiative
This award celebrates the events, interventions, programs and actions which are helping bring about real change in the games industry.
- Fathima Minha Farook – Creating Educational and Entertainment games for kids and adult learners.
- Gender in Play – Empowering Finnish game studios to create more diverse characters and worldviews in their games.
- nDreams Academy – An engagement programme to improve the accessibility of a career in games.
- Prosearium – An initiative to document African women and their roles in games.
- Two Falls – Nishu Takuatshina – A game about indigenous people, created with indigenous people.
Games or Esports Diversity Initiative
For groups, teams and communities which have been working to advocate and support diversity in their academic institutions.
- #EveryGamerCounts: Diversity in Esports and Gaming – Goethe-Institut South Africa
- Changing The Game: Discover How Esports and Gaming are Redefining Business, Careers, Education and The Future
- Coffee and Cookies – Women in Games Society and Annual Game Jam – Confetti – Nottingham Trent
- Irvine Valley College esports
- Méliès Game Week and Game Jam – Méliès College Student Achievement
- Anino Ogunjobi – London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, England
- Anny Caroline Sousa – IFRJ – Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Carla Sousa – Lusófona University, CICANT, Portugal
- Lauren Ansdell-Miller – University of Portsmouth, England
- Yasmin Ahmed – London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, England
Games or Esports Educator
Providing dedicated and inspirational staff members with the recognition they deserve. Educators are pivotal to championing diversity in the industry.
- Dr Susannah Emery – University of South Australia
- Greden Camacho – Independent Esports Educator
- Heather Cole – Reed College of Media, West Virginia University
- Jay Shin – University of West London
- Kaitlin Teniente – St. Mary’s University
Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is to recognise those women who have had a constant, positive impact both on the industry and those around them. They pave the way for others to succeed.
- Deepali Bhanushali
- Karoline Forsberg
- Kim MacAskill
- Laila Shabir
- Liz Prince
- Rebecca Heineman
- Sarah Fuchs
- Tamsin O’Luanaigh
Favourite Woman Game Protagonist
This award showcases the brilliant protagonists featured in games, allowing the public to have their say on their favourite.
- Alex Chen – Life is Strange True Colors
- Aloy – Horizon Forbidden West
- Barbara Gordon/Batgirl – Gotham Knights
- Jeanne – Two Falls (Nishu Takuatshina)
- Scarlett Spinz – Cluster Tumble
Best Representation Of Women In A Video Game
Which games have featured women in a way that has really stayed with you? This publicly voted award seeks to highlight the games which have given women fantastic representation.
- Dark Nights with Poe and Munro
- Jeanne – Two Falls (Nishu Takuatshina)
- Michelle Zou – Bigpoint GmbH
- Spellbound: The Magic Within by Wyrdren Games
- Tasto Alpha & The Tower
- The Glass Ceiling Games by Story Juice
Women In Games Community Awards
Outstanding Corporate Ambassador of the Year
Our Corporate Ambassadors play a pivotal role in the work that Women in Games is able to do each year. This award is to recognise the impact, the outreach and the support they have provided. This award is chosen by the Women in Games Executive Team.
Outstanding Individual Ambassador of the Year
The Individual Ambassadors are the backbone of the organisation’s community work. They champion our aims and ideals, helping the industry become a more inclusive and diverse place. This award is chosen by the Women in Games Executive Team.
If you’d like to find out more information about the Women In Games annual festival, you can find it here on their official website.