Women in Games with Jen Flannery
In an industry traditionally dominated by men, the face of gaming is undergoing a transformative shift as women make their mark. Whether through the games industry or as gaming influencers, women are more prominent than ever in the workforce and the games media. According to data presented by Josh Howarth from 'Exploding Topics', the global gaming community is home to a staggering “1.7 billion male gamers and 1.39 billion female gamers.” And in the United States, 2021 witnessed a milestone with an almost equal distribution, accounting for “55% male gamers and 45% female gamers.” This shift is more than just a numbers game, it is demonstrating the industry's evolution and the growing recognition that gaming knows no gender boundaries. In this blog, we delve into the remarkable rise of the organisation Women in Games, exploring their contributions, challenges, and finding out more about our own Women in Games ambassador, Jen Flannery.
Who are Women in Games?
Women in Games, established in 2009 during a time when women represented only 6% of the games industry workforce, is a not-for-profit organisation. The core objective of Women in Games is to create an equitable, and secure environment, empowering girls and women. At its heart, their mission is about establishing platforms and pathways, all designed to open opportunities that empower women within the worldwide gaming sector. By uniting change-makers and creating dialogues towards shared solutions, Women in Games actively contributes to the pursuit of fairness and equality for all.
Investing in the development of women and girls extends beyond gaming, it holds the potential to shape broader social change. This proactive approach not only benefits the games sector but also ripples into society, reinforcing the importance of supporting women and girls. Women in Games have emerged as a pivotal force in this journey, driving innovation, fostering equality, and propelling the games industry towards a more inclusive and balanced future.
“Creative representation, advocacy, data-driven research, community building, and industry collaboration are not just buzzwords to us; they are pillars of our mission.”
- Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO, Women in Games
Among the ranks of dedicated ambassadors all over the globe for 'Women in Games' is our own Jen Flannery, who is a Talent Acquisition Business Partner here at Kwalee. Dive into her inspiring journey with Women in Games and her profound love for gaming.
So Jen, let’s start with your past career experience, and why you wanted to get involved in Women in Games?
So this is my first job in games, I worked in education for a while, and I also worked some time in the retail industry. The company that I worked for previously was 95% women, so moving across to games is a very different environment, especially being dominated by men. But it’s been very welcoming and I am enjoying it. One of the things I wanted to do was to get involved with Women in Games purely because of my previous experiences, especially as I’m working in talent acquisition as well. It's also just great to encourage other people to join us here at Kwalee!
How does Kwalee’s mission align with Women in Games?
At Kwalee, our mission is to create enjoyable games for a diverse global audience. We value inclusivity and accessibility for all players, irrespective of gender identity. Supporting Women in Games aligns with Kwalee’s commitment to fostering inclusivity in the gaming industry. We must support Women in Games’ work as it mirrors our dedication to making games that resonate with players of all backgrounds and identities, reinforcing the belief that there's no one 'type' of gamer.
How has Women in Games contributed to the support and empowerment of women and girls in the fields of gaming and esports?
In the UK, 51% of gamers are female, yet the games industry's workforce comprises only 22% women, indicating a significant under-representation. They also advocate for fundamental rights, such as fair compensation and flexible work arrangements, and strive to establish a secure and inclusive working environment. By highlighting the industry's gender diversity challenges and championing these causes, Women in Games contributes substantially to the support and empowerment of women and girls in gaming and esports, fostering a more equitable and inclusive future.
What do you believe is crucial for companies like Kwalee?
Here at Kwalee, we firmly believe that diversity, encompassing varying perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences, is essential for innovation and creativity. The recent McKinsey & Company report signals a positive shift, with women having 48% of entry-level roles in the industry by the close of 2022. This progress is encouraging, but there is more work to be done, and games studios like Kwalee are committed to progress.
At Kwalee, our support for women and under-represented groups isn’t about box ticking, it's rooted in the belief that a diverse team makes us collectively stronger. We aspire to create an inclusive workplace where all voices are valued, enriching our games and fostering fairness for all. On a personal note, as Kwalee's ambassador for Women in Games, I've witnessed the challenges many women face in the gaming industry, and myself and Kwalee are determined to be part of the solution, demonstrating that women are integral to the gaming world and should wholeheartedly believe in their contributions.
And finally, for a bit of fun, what are the top games you like to play?
I would say the walking simulator-type games, I know this style did receive a slight backlash, due to there being no combat. When the ‘Life is Strange’ games came out I loved them. Purely because they felt so different. You had interesting female protagonists, and I loved the idea of releasing things episodically as it made it engaging, and the anticipation was intense! I also really love ‘Night in the Woods’ and Scott Pilgrim too, they are my comfort games!
As we've explored the alliance between Women in Games and companies like Kwalee, it's clear that a diverse team fosters innovation, fresh ideas, and a deeper understanding of players, enriching the gaming industry and promoting fairness. Want to find out mote? Click the video below to listen to more about Jen’s experience as she plays Wildmender with our PCC Senior Community & Social Media Manager, Madison Plantier!