“This year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but for those with children 2020 has presented a whole different set of challenges.” – Women in Games sponsor OPM Jobs on the unexpected challenges of COVID-19

As we’ve been looking forward to the Women in Games Awards 2020 this week, we’ve been taking stock of the difficult year behind us, and looking forward to the day when we can all come together to celebrate the hard work of the women in our industry.

And we do want to celebrate. While this year has demonstrated that there is still work to be done, the industry has come a long way over the years.

Still, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has exposed long-standing issues, such as reports that women are taking on the majority of childcare duties during this crisis – while also managing their careers from home.

It’s an imbalance that OPM Jobs, Games campaigner of the Year sponsor at the Women in Games Awards 2020, comments upon. And it’s a situation that OPM’s Kim Parker Adcock can personally relate to:

Having been a Woman in Games for over 28 years, these Awards have a very special place in my heart.  When I began in the industry there were only two women at our back then Gamescom equivalent ECTS, my boss and I.  How the industry has changed, and absolutely for the better.  I have seen it transform into an inviting prospect in which women can women forge their career.  It has not always been this inclusive and we still have a great deal of work to do to make make the industry truly welcoming and diverse.  Events like this only help to improve the working environment for women and recognise the incredible impact they’re having on our world. Having raised three children as single mother, while trying to make OPMjobs a success, I know how hard it can be and how recognition for your achievements can feel.  

“This year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but for those with children 2020 has presented a whole different set of challenges.  Home schooling children alongside managing your work is hard, whether you’re a sole parent or a partnership.  Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more reports suggesting women are taking on the majority of responsibility when it’s come to childcare, which ultimately leads to a return to inequality in the workplace. To help combat this OPM quickly introduced a wellness break that gave our staff an extra hour a day to split up and use as they pleased. Parents were able to us this time to take care of their children’s needs, help their spouse, or even spend the time out of the house for a while to let off some steam. In addition to our existing flexible working hours this has transformed the lives of the parents at OPM and given them some essential time in their day to dedicate to their families without it impacting on their work, their stress, and their mental wellbeing.  I remember all too well the stress and guilt I felt choosing between working and spending time with my sons, and the breakdown I had as a consequence.  If I’d have this option when they were young it would have been transformational. 

“More so than ever before our focus throughout the pandemic has been on flexibility, mental-health awareness, diversity and adaptability. These are the exact principles and ideas that this industry continues to strive for, and they’ve helped OPM maintain great team morale throughout this character building situation.”

Nominations for the Women in Games Awards 2020 are open now. If you would like to nominate the hard work of your colleagues, or your own achievements, please head to our Women in Games Awards website to make your voice heard.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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