Last week I attended the European Women in Games Conference, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington.
It made a real change to attend a women in gaming event instead of the usual women in tech meet up and I must admit that I found it a very different experience.
The ladies who attended were mostly early on in their careers, creative types who dressed funky, whereas the events I normally attend include very refined females that are 20+ years into their careers.
And I couldn’t help but think what would be more appealing to me if I were still a school girl, weighing up my career options.
The successful ladies in their business attire are an attractive option to me now in my late 20s, but if I were a schoolgirl I’d be thinking gaming is the place to be.
I was also thinking that the ladies who normally attend women in tech events have had such success in their careers, that it can sometimes be difficult for someone earlier on in theirs to relate to…..how can I ever imagine myself in your position at your level? One step at a time please.
The issue of women and self-belief comes up a lot – and having ambition is very important – but some may find it a challenge to imagine themselves in such successful high-heels as some of the ladies I have the pleasure of hearing present. And even they bring up the issue of self-belief themselves, occasionally admitting that they took on challenging roles with no self-belief at all but were encouraged to take the risk by a boss who seemed to know their capabilities better then they knew themselves.
Despite many differences both women in gaming and women in tech have ‘barriers’ as a common theme.
She said: “Even though there are a lot of negatives things going on around gaming and gender, the discussion is really interesting and it’s really good that these discussions are happening.”
Reddy believes too many girls are put off the tech industry at a young age by a parent, teacher, or friend: “It is unacceptable to put someone off something they’re interested in or have an aptitude for. It’s about figuring out the barriers and what is putting people off.”
From my experience of the European Women in Games Conference, if I were still in school considering my next qualification choice the gaming world would look like a very enticing career option that I could easily relate to. And when these girls have been in the industry 20+ years they can give the presentations on how they were attracted to gaming from a young age, worked their way up, learnt how the business world works and now run successful companies themselves.
Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative England, said: “We need to debunk the image that everyone in gaming is a tortured individual.”
She said statistics have shown that it is more risky investing in a restaurant or pub then it is in gaming, yet there seems to be more investments being made in restaurants and pubs.
Encouraging more women to study science and engineering
David Willetts, the universities and science minister, recently made two science and engineering announcements designed to boost the number of women taking such subjects.
Fee loans are set to be offered to students who choose to study engineering and technology part-time as second degrees, in addition to £200 million of funding being injected to science and engineering teaching facilities.
He added: “Universities will have to match it with private money. So that makes £400 million of investment so that students can be taught on the latest equipment and ready for the world of work. That is our commitment to working with universities and businesses to help win the global race.
“We support the ambition of doubling the proportion of engineering degrees taken by women.”
He made the announcement in a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.