Girl Geek Academy hosts the first all women’s games hackathon at the Arcade in Melbourne
It’s rather ironic that the last Esports Central episode covered women in the gaming industry and how we need to get more ladies involved in esports. Ann pointed out that it’s not all about gamers, but we need good girl casters, and organisers too. Well, we also need good girl producers, developers, designers, and publishers.
That’s what Girl Geek Academy set out to do with their first games jam. In the past, GGA has held of multitude of women’s only events – hackathons, workshops, bootcamps, startup programs and more. With their previous entrepreneur in residence being a successful games publisher, and GGA’s co-founder as a top producer, it’s no wonder they decided to focus this one on video gaming.
Women are under represented in every tech industry, and especially in video gaming. As Anna from EA nicely put it:
“Video gaming is definitely seen as a boys thing, and something only they do. I thought that when I got involved in the games industry; it’s a culture thing, but it shouldn’t be like that. Girls game too!”
Girl Geek Academy works to change all that. Having an all-women’s game jam is the same reason why there’s was the all-women’s Overwatch tournament. It’s breaking down barriers and providing a safe and comfortable space for ladies to get involved in something they probably haven’t done. Once these women are through the initial step, most of them go on to do these same types of events with their male counter-parts.
Lots of the women I spoke to this weekend said things like “I wouldn’t have thought to do this otherwise”, or “I didn’t think this would be so much fun”, “I was definitely nervous before coming here, but now I’m keen to do it again! When’s the next one?” It’s comments like this that make these weekends so fruitful.
As Sarah, the CEO of Girl Geek Academy pointed out:
“we can’t just look at one aspect of the industry. We need to view the whole pipeline and address the pipe as a whole”
Well said Sarah! There’s certainly this idea that if you can just support the women we have in the industry then they’ll be okay. But it’s not just about that. If you can’t get young girls involved in tech, science, engineering, gaming, etc, then you won’t see them as grown women in these kinds of careers. GGA addressed this over the weekend too.
Whilst the ladies were hacking downstairs, a group of high school girls were intensely learning the basics of game-making, producing, and designing. They got a taste of what the industry can offer, and were they excited!
After hearing from some great women in the industry, making some games of their own, and try their hands at VR, the girls went downstairs to test the games the ladies had built over just two days.
This blend of young and old, rookies and veterans, participants and mentors; it’s all these aspects coming together to make this weekend a gem in our times. The young need the old to look up to as role models, the newbies need the veterans to learn from their experience, the participants need the mentors to guide them through their journey and the organisers keep it all together. You can’t do one without the other. The brilliant mixes of these things over the weekend show that it’s possible to do. It’s possible to get a group of high school girls who are interested in making games to come and learn while a bunch of women work together to create something amazing.
And this weekend was amazing. Coupled with the as-always delicious cupcakes and tea, the event has a huge success. I know plenty of ladies are keen for the next one and have already set their sights on the SheHacks hackathon. I’m looking forward to see what GGA does to tackle the whole pipeline while working towards their goal of teaching 1 million women to build tech and create startup by 2025.
You go girls!
Also, check out the SheHacksGames video. It covers all the amazing things that happened during the event as well as some sweet as interviews with incredible ladies (and guys too!)
What is happening in your industry or your workplace to support women? What do you want to see more (or less) of? Comment below, tweet back, or reply.