As the following two sessions before Sheri Graner Ray’s talk were Andrea Hasselager’s wonderful Game Girl Workshop Palestine and the panel I myself participated in, I thought I’d link those YouTube sessions in, because you had to see Hasselager’s very positive and uplifting talk and I had a hard time taking notes for my own debate.
Game Girl Workshop – Andrea Hasselager
Creating Equal Cultures – panel
Last came Sheri Graner Ray with an encouragement to make the game industry better, putting the responsibility firmly on everyone’s shoulders.
Diversity – Sheri Graner Ray
Diversity – what’s the big deal? Do we really need to talk about diversity? The discussion has been going on for a long time and we are still talking about. Is diversity good? Not necessarily.
However is diversity good for business?
* 35% increase return of equity
* 34% increase total share holder return
* Highest percentages of women equal to highest earnings. – more women led to better decisions.
Diversity and business facts:
* Diverse population is growing and fast
* Diversity drives innovation
Diversity improves ROI, decision making, opens up markets and is critical for creativity. In other words diversity is good for business.
We know we have a problem and we have been talking about it for 18 years. So what is the industry doing? Not much. Instead the industry is not taking notice.
What does diversity mean to the industry? Lawsuits.
We’ve got a backlash going in the industry. Breakdown in communication. What causes this? Tradition.
Remove the fear, emphasise the positive, lift the successes that depend on hiring minorities, Demand success, insist quality never be in question.
So what do we do?
Emphasise the positive. Don’t tell anymore horror stories about how it is in the gaming community. Stop being angry and lift the good stuff about diversity.
We’re all responsible for creating an industry that works, we’re all a part of the change to make things better.
* Be positive
* Take responsibility
* Be visible
Since I was in the panel, I can’t really have opinions on that, apart from letting you know that when I laugh it’s because Thor is flipping to the right space on his iPad. He had an answer for everything which was just adorable.
Girl Game Workshop
This was the contender for the best talk of the conference. I just loved the films, and I loved the happiness on those girls faces when they talked about the things they had made, the pride that filled them! Wow. I remember feeling like that. It is awesome when it happens.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I must say, I didn’t like this talk at all. I think, in retrospect, that it was because I felt that Graner Ray put the responsibility back on the “minorities” in the game industry to do something, and I don’t think it is possible for us to do this alone, especially since we don’t have much power in our daily work and lives.
My experience of the talk was that, yes, we do need to find new ways to talk about diversity (which I, after having a long conversation with the worlds best gender equality consultant, Pernilla Alexandersson of AddGender, feel is actually yet another excuse to avoid equality), but do not put the onus on us who actually care about it but have few tools to make it happen.
Also, I wonder when I’m ever going to get to be angry? I can’t be angry when I argue with people on the internet, because that makes me lose all credibility, I can’t be angry and emotional when posting on Twitter, because that scares all the women away from game development. I can’t be angry at work, because that’s unprofessional and I can’t be angry on my blog, because see the first reason. So when do I get to be completely frustrated and furious at the way the industry is treating me and my fellow co-workers of the female persuasion? Apparently never, because let’s stop telling horror stories, shall we? Let’s comply with the patriarchy, shut up if we can’t be positive and sweep the problems under the carpet.
Apparently there were other interpretations of this presentation, which is why that presentation is also embedded in this post.