Global Gaming Women (GGW) was launched during G2E two years ago, and as we approach this anniversary, it’s important that we take time to not only look at what we have accomplished, but to evaluate what we’ve learned and where we’re headed from here.
Whether through education, hosting events all over the world, or creating networking and mentorship opportunities, we have certainly taken great strides in our mission to support the development and success of women in the international gaming industry.
Examples of recent developments include the launch of a new program—in partnership with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s International Gaming Institute—to award continuing education scholarships for women in the industry. We also continue to improve online resources, such as Coffee Break, a video series showcasing female industry leaders offering insights and advice on business. This year at G2E we will launch yet another innovative tool for women to develop mentor/mentee relationships around the globe: Global Gaming Network.
By the outpouring of enthusiasm for these resources, it’s clear we’re filling a need for women in the industry that was unavailable prior to GGW. The impressive participation proves that the issues facing women in our industry are common across companies, vocations and geographic borders. Women want to connect with, and learn from, each other by sharing insight, advice and best practices, and we’re providing the platforms needed to make this happen.
Over the past two years, GGW has worked to raise the profile of the advancement of women within the industry, and our next phase will see our focus turn toward making it even more of a priority. The question is: How can we make the advancement of women more ingrained in the way our industry operates moving forward?
First, we’ll continue to find new, pioneering ways for women in gaming to connect and grow. Second, we will strive to offer more resources, including the online and in-person offerings that have been so popular thus far.
But ultimately, true advancement opportunities must come from within companies, and there is still work to be done. This is true in gaming and across other industries. It is illustrated by the fact that, despite many inroads, shifts in the “glass ceiling” have mainly occurred at the middle management levels while highly unequal representation remains at the highest executive positions.
Research by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has shown that women hold only 24.8 percent of casino management positions and only 18.8 percent of upper management positions such as vice president, general manager and president. Throughout the business world, women may be outpacing men in education levels, but—to cite a couple examples—only 14.3 percent of executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are women, and the proportion of women holding corporate board seats has stayed stagnant at 16.6 percent for three years.
Fortunately, there are models of how women’s advancement can be accomplished and how it can be done well. GGW is pleased and excited to announce that this year at G2E, it will be releasing the results of a project aimed at assessing the educational needs of women in the international gaming industry. The research-based assessment was compiled by McClain Resources, a Nevada-based human resources firm.
McClain’s research explores, specifically, the educational needs of female gaming professionals, current best practices within the gaming industry, current best practices within other industries, and the most effective model for corporate programs that promote the development and success of women in gaming. The research was informed by conversations with women throughout the global industry, including U.S., tribal and international gaming leaders; human resources professionals across the country; and vendors and suppliers associated with the industry.
McClain’s comprehensive report will serve several purposes. First, it will identify the best practices currently in use by other top companies for advancing women in the workplace. Second, it will find common program elements across these practices that have proved successful. And third, it will determine what companies in our industry are already doing well and what types of things women in the industry think would be helpful.
The entirety of the research is necessary to paint a complete picture of GGW’s future and provide potential action steps for GGW to pursue development of corporate programs for women in gaming. But a preliminary look shows that supporting the development of women in our industry will require the use of several initiatives in concert: career counseling, women’s affinity groups, formal mentoring and leadership training. These efforts will only be successful in concert with a commitment from the top leaders in our industry.
GGW will share the full details of this research, along with recommendations for how the industry can move forward, at G2E. The results will inform all of us on these critical questions, and they’ll serve as a guide for the next phase of work for GGW as we consider how best to facilitate the advancement of women.
In only two years, GGW has made outstanding progress in many of the facets critical to connecting, educating and advancing women in gaming. And we’re always striving to find new, better ways to meet our goals. This new research will provide fresh ideas and the next concrete steps in pursuit of this mission. I look forward to seeing where it takes us.