If you happened to attend the last session in Global Gaming Women’s (GGW) expanded education program at G2E this year, you may have caught one gutsy New Yorker inspiring audience members to “go big or go home.” Out of the mouths of babes and, it turns out, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and New York Times best-selling author Kate White. “How can you make your job bigger, bolder and more badass?” she proclaimed.
White’s words stuck with us here at the AGA. What can we do to make Global Gaming Women bigger, bolder and more badass in 2015?
Taking a step back to reflect on our own research, an encumbering landscape challenges female professionals trying to advance within our industry—and from White’s remarks and frequent national headlines on the subject, women in gaming aren’t alone. For us, the reality is:
Gaming women often do not seek or achieve career advancement. This is primarily for two reasons. They believe women are discounted by the industry and that gaming remains a male-dominated business. Further, they believe the path to higher-level positions requires significant personal sacrifice.
Common barriers prevent advancement of women within the industry. Industry women repeatedly cite gender differences, negative stereotypes and work-life balance issues as barriers to their progress.
Most gaming organizations do not provide key advancement programs—for men or women. Formal leadership and mentorship programs as well as informal sponsorship and coaching, which provide important opportunities for development and advancement, are reported as uncommon and challenging to cultivate.
GGW aims to combat negative perceptions and empower gaming women through education. We educate the industry by discussing and promoting the value women bring to leadership positions. We educate gaming women by providing the tools necessary to develop the skills and competencies to propel them to top leadership positions.
As an AGA initiative, we seek to deliver our core objectives to educate, connect, and promote and inform the industry through GGW as follows:
Educate: We offer scholarship and education programs for women pursuing careers in gaming.
Connect: We bring together gaming women professionals to share ideas and experiences, and create lasting connections, both in person and online.
Promote and Inform: We seek to educate, empower and engage women of the gaming industry through an aggressive communications campaign.
But our efforts to promote visibility and upward mobility of women in the industry can only become “bigger, bolder and more badass” with one pivotal person—you.
As we look toward 2015, we look to you—our audience members—for support in driving our industry forward. We encourage active participation in GGW initiatives through the following leadership opportunities:
• Host your own GGW event or encourage your company to develop a similar program to promote the value of women and diversity within the organization.
• Start a discussion with fellow gaming women on our LinkedIn community to learn how they overcome daily work challenges and combat negative stereotypes.
• Sponsor one of our GGW Charitable Education Fund events, such as Kick Up Your Heels 2015, which benefit your industry colleagues through GGW’s growing scholarship program.
Every contribution makes a difference. As scholarship recipient Anne Cox said of her experience at the MGM Resorts Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Conference, “I found this to be a great catalyst of change in my life. Sometimes we just need to hear other people’s journeys to help us realize we can achieve success.” Piece by piece, voice by voice, individual by individual, we’re making a difference for women in gaming. You can make a difference too.
Not only do we encourage your participation, we encourage your suggestions and feedback as well. We want to hear from you about how we can make our voice bigger, bolder and louder within the industry. Shekinah Hoffman, coordinator of industry services at the AGA, serves as our primary GGW liaison. I urge you to reach out to her with your suggestions and feedback for the program. Shekinah also serves as a resource to individuals and organizations interested in hosting their own GGW events.
GGW can change our industry for the better. But it is only with your active engagement that we will overcome tiresome gender stereotypes and promote upward mobility of gaming women. We look forward to a year of growth, development and success with your continued support of GGW.