Australia’s Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) has announced the launch of The Working Lunch, a program which aims to equip women looking to enter the gaming industry with skills and mentorship.
Running across six annual workshops as well as two industry networking events, The Working Lunch will cover topics core to the gaming sector including planning, project management, freelancing, interviews, and internships.
Each participant in the program will be paired with a mentor who specialises in their area of interest for one-on-one mentorship sessions. The sessions will be designed to expose mentees to networking and career opportunities, while giving them the chance to expand their skills and access insightful advice.
The program will be led by Ally McLean, a gaming producer who currently holds the position of Project Lead at indie game development startup Robot House.
A prominent voice in Australia for women in games, McLean worked to develop the program alongside women in leadership roles in the industry, as well as IGEA.
Backing McLean is a lineup of 20 women from within the gaming industry who will form the program’s core mentor and guest mentor network, including the mind behind ABC’s Good Game television series, Janet Carr, and Kim Allom, a producer at gaming startup Defiant Development.
Speaking about the the program, McLean said she was thankful for the support from IGEA and the lineup of mentors, who will volunteer their time to help create new roles in the gaming industry.
“The program comes from a place of gratitude and admiration for the women among us and those who came before us who have shaped the industry to be a more diverse and inclusive space, and to produce better games. I hope we can follow in their footsteps by lifting up the next wave of pioneers, creators and leaders, and by learning from each other in the process,” she said.
A traditionally male dominated industry since its emergence in the 1960s, the gaming industry continues to lack diversity, with data from the ABS finding that a low 15 percent of the gaming development workforce in Australia are women. Meanwhile, nearly half of all people who play games in Australia are female.
Examining this data, an increasing number of representatives from the game industry have connected the lack of female developers to the poor representation of women and gender diversity in games and esports.
Discussing the issue, Rae Johnston, a gaming journalist and mentor for The Working Lunch, said the lack of diversity in the industry also impacts other gaming-related roles, including her own.
“I felt pretty alone when I started working in games journalism. It’s such a male-dominated field, even today. The better part of a decade later, I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by driven, passionate and generous women – and I’m excited to have the opportunity to extend that support to the next generation,” she said.
The Working Lunch stated it will be working to reduce the diversity gap in the industry, by helping to facilitate new employment opportunities for its participants, that will “ultimately produce better games”.
You can find out more about the program here.
Image: Mentor Kim Allom. Source: Supplied.