Congratulations to our Social Media Specialist Riley on becoming a #WIGJ Ambassador! We couldn’t be prouder of the achievements of our team and we look forward to her taking up this challenge to offer support, inspire growth and equality of other women in the gaming industry.
We caught up with Riley recently to ask her what it means to her to become an ambassador for Women in Games.
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for Women in Games?
WIGJ is a non-profit organisation that is helping to make the games industry an inclusive, equal opportunity space and is empowering women to get involved. Being accepted into this role means I can help in the fight against inequality and help inspire a younger generation.
What do you envisage your ambassadorship with Women in Games involving? What impact would you like to have resulting from your ambassadorship?
As an ambassador you are required to participate/host events to help inspire future generations of women to work in the industry. I’m currently planning on taking part in coffee mornings, school visits and more. If at least one woman got involved in the games industry as a result of my role, I would be thrilled!
Who or what inspires you and why?
I am inspired by the women who paved the way in the games industry. In a largely male-dominated world, it can be extremely difficult to have your voice heard and listened to. It is because of the women who fought hard to be included that I was even interested in the industry in the first place.
What inspired you to get into the gaming industry, and how did you arrive at your current position?
Unlike many or most people in the industry it is not the games that made me want to get involved, but the people. People at events, the online communities and the friendships that interested me. I have a degree in games journalism and public relations and from there I moved into digital marketing, it was here where I truly discovered my passion for social media and the online sphere.
What does your typical working day involve?
I manage social channels for a variety of clients, which includes writing and scheduling posts, participating in community management, and in-depth reporting on its success. I also have my fingers in a few pies across the business, supporting my manager Kris with anything he needs me for.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career, so far?
Honestly, being offered the role at Heaven Media has been the highlight. I worked hard in a job I was unhappy in for a long time and knowing my efforts had helped me get my foot in the door in this incredible business, in the industry I love, made it all worth it.
What do you believe are the main causes of the gender disparity in the games industry?
Lack of representation and sexist behaviours both professionally and in the online sphere.
What would you say to games publishers who are afraid of putting a female lead in their games for fear of impacting sales?
That it’s time to move into the 21st century. Women have had absolutely terrible representation in games from the very beginning. If you want women to play your game, then you can’t be afraid of upsetting a portion of the community that find female characters to be a negative. If you are catering to misogynists over women, then you are a big part of the problem.
While the competitive esports scene is booming, it’s still overwhelmingly a boys’ club. Do you agree and if so, how do you see this changing?
I both agree and disagree with this. Once again women have always been a part of esports from the start, making up players, behind the scenes workers and fans. While this is still a relatively new industry, we have unfortunately seen esports minimize the contribution of women. There are always more women involved in gaming than it appears.
But what do the statistics say? While 48% of women in the United States report having played a video game, only 6% identify as gamers, compared to 15% of men who identify as gamers. This rises to 9% among women aged 18–29, compared to 33% of men in that age group.
What are your views on this?
Unfortunately to be a woman and to brand yourself as a ‘gamer’ opens yourself up to a lot of negativity. Similar to esports and even ‘regular’ sports, there are far more women involved than it appears – usually running the show.
What do you think is the biggest barrier for women in the industry today? How do you think these barriers can be overcome?
The biggest barriers for women in the games industry are the same as the barriers for most women in male-dominated industries, not being hired as much, not being paid as much, not being listened to as much. It’s reasons like these that we need organisations like WIGJ. Together we can work to lessen the gender gap in gaming.
Where should we be focusing our efforts to encourage more women to enter the industry?
On organisations such as WIGJ. These organisations are taking the conversation to where it counts, schools, societies and young women all over the world and online.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to get into the gaming industry or who are just starting out?
Try to get your foot in the door, you have to start somewhere. Look online for paid and unpaid roles to start off with. There are plenty of dedicated recruitment sites just for the games industry.