Women in Games GDC Panel Says Studios Should Look to Schools

Veteran women developers talk about getting girls to play games and join the industry.

At the Games Developer Conference panel on Women in Games the speakers commented on the importance of getting girls interested in playing games and joining the industry at school age GamesIndustry reports.

The panelists included Double Fine senior programmer Anna Kipnis, 343 Industries executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, Social Chocolate designer Jane McGonigal, Parsons New School for Design professor Colleen Macklin and Funomena designer Robin Hunicke. 

Hunicke suggested that games developers should get into schools and speak to female students, presenting them with a game designer who doesn't look or talk the way they might expect.

"You can reach these kids and inspire them to be game designers in 10-15 years. That's something you can do locally at pretty much just the cost of an afternoon," Hunicke said.

Macklin consented saying the key to encouraging more women to join the game industry was to start young. She saud developers could go out to boys or girls clubs and talk to them about game design or work with schools to bring about programming courses. Macklin commented that part of the problem is women typically grow up without even considering a career in the game industry. 

McGonigal added that when preparing for panels at industry events, such as GDC, such mixes up the images she uses to protray as even a mix of male and female gamers as possible. 

Kipnis spoke about how she had come to establish the Molydeux GameJam and the support for female developers within the indie community. She suggested that perhaps part of the solution to the industry's problems with regard to sex equality is to behave as if there isn't a problem with the way women are precieved in game and perhaps the reality will not be quite as bad as feared.

GDC has not passed without controversy however. A party held during the conference featured scantily clad women leading Brenda Romero to resign as co-chair of the Independant Game Developer's Association. There have also been accusations women were "paid to party" at a Mojang hosted GDC event.