The author of this article, Juhi Hajela is the Vice President of Global Marketing at BlueStacks and now.gg.
Women are slowly and steadily making their mark in the male-dominated bastion of the gaming industry. This positive trend is the result of a rising number of women gamers, which has led to a steady rise in the number of women opting for careers in game design and development to create games that suit the sensibilities of women.
Let's look at some numbers...
BlueStacks is an award-winning mobile gaming platform adopted by over one billion gamers in 100 countries and six continents worldwide. Now.gg is a mobile cloud company that is changing the gaming experience for game developers and consumers with the first mobile platform-as-a-service for game developers.
So even going by conservative estimates, we can see that women now comprise 40% of India’s gamer population and similar numbers have been reported by Lumikai, a VC fund focused on gaming and interactive media.
These stats reinforce the need for more women in product leadership in the gaming industry. However, while we are seeing a monumental shift from the age-old stereotypes, the gaming industry has a long road ahead if it wants to firmly position itself as a gender-agnostic industry. Let’s see why…
Women in the gaming workforce - where are we?
The gaming ecosystem is working to break gender bias and create a more inclusive and diverse community. Several studies and surveys have shown an uptick in the representation of women in the gaming industry, but we are also aware that there is a lot of untapped potential.
The data is a fair representation of the strides we have made in exploring the potential of women in the industry, where we are seeing an improvement year on year and an indication of the untapped talent reserves in the country.
Setting the stage for women leaders
Women in the workplace today are helming technical roles shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts. To make this more common across organizations, we must provide a conducive environment that is agnostic of gender stereotypes, judgments, and preconceived notions. This will be a big motivator for high performers who eventually walk the leadership path.
Secondly, appropriate opportunities will engage women while they thrive, using available resources to the best of their ability. Thirdly, learning drives high performers; hence, there need to be an investment in training and skilling required for women to perform better in their job and reach newer heights.
Challenges faced by women leaders
Women leaders face many challenges and conscious or unconscious biases. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, so finding mentors and role models who can help women navigate leadership challenges is difficult.
The support needed to succeed in leadership roles needs to be improved, as access to certain opportunities can be met with discouragement at times. Women are often hired or promoted after evaluating their age, marital responsibilities, and bias about how motherhood can impact their work. Also, existing biases can sometimes add up to this, leading to fewer women being promoted to management roles.
Future of women leaders in the Indian tech ecosystem
The number of women working in the gaming industry will continue to grow in the coming decade due to the growing awareness of inclusivity and diversity. Increased initiatives to encourage women groups to pursue gaming-related careers are seen.
As the number of women playing games continues to grow, it will be motivation for other women to pursue gaming careers. The gaming industry is constantly changing. Newer technology is making it easier and more accessible for women who would not have had that access earlier to enter the industry.
As we continue to encourage women to take up roles in niche industries such as gaming, we will see a rise in leadership positions, thus creating more role models for young women to take up gaming roles and careers.
While the representation of women in the industry is less, corporates can make a difference in this number with policies that ensure equal growth opportunities.
Human resources will have to take the lead in identifying biases and senior management must seek to eliminate the identified biases, so that gender inclusivity seeps into the culture of the organization. Only then will we be closer to our goal of creating equal opportunities for all and nurture more women product leaders in the gaming industry.
About the Author:
Juhi Hajela is the Vice President of Global Marketing at BlueStacks and now.gg. In her previous roles, Juhi has led customer satisfaction at Google, content marketing at MakeMyTrip, and content creation at McKinsey & Co. Juhi is an alumnus of the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics, a member of the Forbes Communications Council, and a strong champion of women in leadership roles.