Website: Women in Games • Supporting Women in the Video Games Industry
Become an Ambassador: Ambassadors • Women in Games
Check out The Guide: The Women in Games Guide: Building a Fair Playing Field • Women in Games

In this eye-opening episode, we’re joined by the trailblazers from Women in Games to tackle an industry-level challenge: diversity and inclusion. Learn about their transformative initiatives, from corporate to education ambassadors, and how they’re changing the game—literally. We delve into the concept of ‘inclusion by design’ and why it’s more than just a buzzword. Hear firsthand how shifting mindsets in game studios can lead to more inclusive experiences for all players. We also discuss a must-have guide empowering studios to champion diversity from the start. Discover how vocal advocacy translates into real action and why you should join the movement. Don’t just play the game—change it

Transcript

00:00 Intro Welcome to the Player Engage podcast where we dive into the biggest challenges, technologies, trends, and best practices for creating unforgettable player experiences. Player Engage is brought to you as a collaboration between Keyword Studios and HelpShift. Here is your host, Greg Posner.

00:16 Greg Posner We are here still at Community Club House at Gamescom joined by three lovely ladies from Women in Games. This is a great organization that’s empowering women and you’ll hear more about their mission. We’re joined by Athena, we’re joined by Gemma and Mafalda. So I’m going to let them do an introduction since they’re better than me, but I’m very excited about this conversation here today.

00:34 Gemma Johnson-Brown Hello, lovely to be here in person in real life. We’ve seen each other on screen so much that it’s great to see everybody here. I’m Gemma Johnson-Brown, co-director and ambassador director for Women in Games. During the day, I’m COO at Dovetail Games and evenings, weekends and all the spare time I focus on Women in Games because it’s something very dear to me.

00:57 Mafalda Duarte Yeah, so my name is Mafalda Duarte. I am the ambassador coordinator. I work under the lovely Gemma to support all of our ambassadors or the entire 1400 of them. And yeah, by day I am the director and producer for Telescope Games. And the reason why I joined is just community building is my passion and I just love supporting others to do the best that they can do.

01:25 Athena Enderstein Hi everybody. I’m Athena from Keywords, Athena Enderstein. I’m the group head of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. I’m very excited because my first games come and also because I get to meet my Women in Games teammates for the first time. So Keywords has a partnership with Women in Games where we fund the individual ambassador program. It’s one of the things we’re going to be talking about today. And I’m really happy to share it with you, those who are ambassadors and those are interested in becoming ambassadors too.

01:57 Greg Posner Thank you for the introduction. And the one thing first is Gemma’s here doing this lovely podcast with us. Thank you. She’s actually releasing a game right now as well. So make sure you go check it out. It trains in World 4. But let’s start high with just the mission of Women in Games because it’s a fantastic mission. And would you mind putting in your own words what you believe this mission is?

02:15 Gemma Johnson-Brown We will discuss that there are 50% of women that play. There are 50% of women in the population. But sadly, not 50% of women that are represented either in game or developing games, supporting the games and being developed. And Women in Games exists to support that ecosystem for everything from our corporate ambassadors, our individual ambassadors, our education ambassadors, and to the events we run.

02:41 Mafalda Duarte It’s about creating a community that is safe, welcoming for all women, allies, everybody that’s on our mission to make this industry a great place to be for everyone. If I may add a little bit on that, I would just say that one of the things that made me relate to the Women in Games mission was something that I was talking to Atina a few seconds ago, is that openness. That is, it’s not a woman, like it’s not exclusive to women. It is woman-led. And that is, it is exactly what we tell all of our ambassadors. That’s why whenever it’s Ambassador Alato, whatever it is, it’s just about they taking action into being the change that they want to see being a driving force, a visible force, so that you can start seeing them doing all of that that it describes. We know by the numbers, but we might not see them. So for example, on the gamer side, it’s like they have been players, but they might not connect with the gamer culture. So we have numerous examples of even like when ambassadors apply to our program saying things like, I don’t know, I played Neopets online or Miniclip or I don’t know, my entire life I’ve been playing all these games, but I’m not a gamer. I’m not part of the gamer culture. And that is one of the stepping stones into then becoming even more involved, becoming in working games, not just making them, right?

04:17 Greg Posner It’s being a streamer is being an influencer is it’s all of those the networks around games and promoting games. Yeah, I think that’s really what Gemma and Mafalda have shared now is really the essence of our partnership with Keywords is about building up these communities, strengthening them, welcoming people from a range of backgrounds, a range of gaming histories and interests, and really being all together involved in this project of gender equality building. I think something that’s interesting, Mafalda said was I recently did another conversation with someone from Hyper Hippo named Ashlyn. She told me that before she got into gaming, she never felt like she fit into that gaming culture. She said she would play The Sims and she’d play other like games, but she didn’t really feel like she was a gamer if she wasn’t tagged as a gamer. It was an interesting thought because Sims is very much a game, right? It just doesn’t have that sort of online community that will be chatting. And I think that’s kind of that separation. But I think that separation is starting to dwindle, especially when you have platforms like Discord now that give you the ability to communicate with people, even if it’s not a multiplayer game and you can start building up those communities. So are there specific, I guess, two-folded question, right? How do women become a part of this? And how do they help contribute? And do you have a platform where people can connect and be a be together and communicate with each other?

05:36 Gemma Johnson-Brown Yeah, the program that Keywords supports us, the individual ambassadors, is a great way to be involved and be part of the community. Everything from our Discord, which we work very hard to keep safe and moderated. The moderators on there do an excellent job. To the individual ambassadors across the globe that hold events in their local areas to be that place where you can go and you can connect with people from similar backgrounds and different backgrounds. It’s all about us being on one level playing field and getting involved.

06:10 Mafalda Duarte Yeah, and on that local influence and local visibility, one of the things that the ambassadorship really brings is the sense of belonging to whatever you are in the world. In my personal story, I travel a lot, go to a lot of different events, and sometimes I go by myself. I belong to an ED studio. We just have a limited amount of people that can do that part of the job. And I’m never alone. I can be there and just say, oh, who are the ambassadors that are around? Can you meet up? And that is your little anchor into feeling welcome to a space, not feeling left weirdly standing out in an ocean of middle-aged white men.

06:59 Athena Enderstein And that way you feel that sense of belonging that we were just describing before. Yeah, what I’ve learned from talking to ambassadors and talking to our colleagues at Women in Games is really about those opportunities for connection and also exchange of knowledge and exchange of support and exchange of opportunities, which happens through the community and the network. And I think that’s one of the really valuable things about being part of a network like this. I’m going to reference a conversation that Mofelda and I were having before as well. We were talking about how that kind of connection builds change over time, whether it be small events or big events, to what Gemma was saying, people developing things in their local communities, in their local studios or workplaces.

07:50 Greg Posner Those are the things that over time build the momentum of the community. When it comes to the community, how do you, I guess, separate question, right? We’re in about the middle of 2023, right? In the beginning of the year, do you have a sit-down as a group determining what your goals for the year are? And what is success for Women in Games? How do you look at the end of the year when you’re reviewing it, saying this was a good year or we need to change something up for next year?

08:16 Gemma Johnson-Brown Well, we’re a small not-for-profit, so metrics and goals and KPIs are probably not one of the driving forces, I would say. Certainly we look at the growth of our ambassador programs and that’s a good measure of success for us. We look at the impact ambassadors are having. So Luna Javier in the Philippines, she ran a mentor program. And I remember her posting on the Discord and she was like, oh, I’ve had this little idea. And we’re like, oh, OK, what’s this about? And she’s like, I’m going to do a little mentor thing. And how many applications did she have? 50? 50-odd applications in the Philippines. And you’re like, that’s amazing. And so these ideas just snowball. And then you see that building kind of an intangible thing we can measure where other ambassadors go, oh, I can do that.

09:01 Mafalda Duarte And GDC meetup. Yeah, GDC was huge. That was a big meetup for us. It was meant to be. She was like, oh, we’re going to organize. Oh, sorry. She was talking. I forgot the name of our ambassador. I’m so sorry. But I remember she talked to me. She was like, I just want to do something at GDC. I’m going to be there. Let’s set up a coffee shop. And then the coffee shop had like 20 people total. And it was overboard the amount of people allowed. She was like, OK, I’m going to get another bigger coffee shop. And then that also overflowed. So eventually I think we had like 200 people enrolled in and it’s like, OK, just let’s just go to a park because you don’t have a venue big enough to just hang out. It was it was non-sponsored, which is I think exactly I’m not saying the only way. Of course, there’s investors that go all in and they have partnerships and studios that want to support them. And that’s also part of the ecosystem. But for me, the beauty of this is you as an individual, because you are powered by this community, by the confidence of the values and the confidence that because you are part of this, there’s someone else supporting you, there is also coming and you’re not going to be alone. And all of that builds up to a single individual without any with any money or any second intentions of of a sponsorship or whatever. They can just be there and suddenly put together 250 people.

10:33 Greg Posner I think that’s super cool. A, the ability to just give give your members a platform where they can run events that they see fit or something that they think they can connect with. I think that’s the best way you can continue to grow.

10:47 Mafalda Duarte No, Greg, I just want to say one thing, because we’ve been talking about the events because they are impressive. But I don’t want to to to go away right away from what he means success, because for me, is they not having less of the same questions? It is great when you see that ambassadors supported each other into understanding their role. And so they don’t they don’t even need this. They can go with it. And that is not just events. Is those one on one’s is the mentorships or the I’m sharing an opportunity with you or even whenever they join our events as speakers for the first time. And that’s what gives them confidence to. I know that I did that. I was a speaker in our one of our events, the career events this year. And I use that theme and that talk to be here at Defcon this year as well. And so I just improved upon it with feedback of the investors. I was super supportive that we’re in that space because I felt like it was a safe space to do it. So definitely like it goes beyond event making and gives you ability and confidence on other areas.

11:59 Greg Posner Yes, like personal growth. Right. You’re surrounded by the right people that are helping enable you and help prop you up. And I remember when I started in my actual career, I was a very quiet, shy person and around people being around people helped me kind of open up. And I think you’re giving people a platform and a community where they feel safe. They’re not going to be criticized for what they’re doing. And they’re also going to have input from others like them that can say, hey, maybe you want to do this or instead of that. And it kind of grows itself. Right. Obviously, still want the big events where you can have everyone. But it’s nice. I’m sure like in the Philippines, they have these one off events where you don’t need to be involved. But the mission and the message is still being spread to others that are out there. It’s an important message. Do you I know some other companies also have some form of women in games or women in gaming and I think Microsoft has one. Do you ever think about doing co-sponsorships or kind of co or have you done that before where you can kind of take that audience and make it a wider message?

12:50 Gemma Johnson-Brown Yeah, we do partnerships. Yeah, we’re all working towards the same common goal here. There is a lot of community groups around and female led groups within organizations. We can support with materials or build a fair playing field guide. That’s what it’s called. Yeah. It didn’t sound right. But, you know, we can support from that or ambassadors can support as well.

13:20 Mafalda Duarte So, yeah, I’m just hoping I lost that. Yeah, I completely agree with what Gemma just said. I think I was just talking with an ambassador that was a mentor for IGDA this time. And also she was a mentor for WIGI, the Women in Games International group and just the shared experiences that we can bring from one to the other. For example, I think they sometimes are very at least in terms of like online presence, they are great in esports. And it’s awesome to look at the work of other organizations and see, oh, yeah. So maybe sometimes if we have some of our ambassadors that want to do that, like, let’s try to do something that works here. Or, for example, that ambassador, because she has that experience with them as a mentor, like she brought that experience back to the community in Women in Games saying something, OK, so this is like a way that I could use that experience and mentor as well in my local region. I think very important things is like all of those groups, they have little variations in our reach because we cannot be everywhere in the world. Or like the mission is like exactly the same, but like with little differences that may be regional. They might be connected to a brand, for example. Like, I don’t know, I don’t work for Microsoft or Xbox, so I’m not part of Women in Games in Xbox, right? But I can be if I do, I can be there and in in many games as a overall. And I think the connections and the relationships between these groups just makes us all stronger and have different points of influence, because then you can support each other into just widen that. I don’t want to say influence again, but just to add to that presence.

15:08 Athena Enderstein I think it’s important also to consider the fact that when we’re trying to build more equitable practices or, you know, in our journey towards equality, we know that there are lots of different things that contribute to that momentum that I was talking about before. And we can see that in social movements in a lot of different contexts. And it’s because of the advocacy and allyship and different work that people are doing that together we’re able to bring about change. I think that’s one of the reasons why Women in Games is a great initiative, because it’s providing, for example, with the individual ambassador program, an opportunity for the community to come together. So that’s one aspect that we’re focusing on here. But there are also other things that we can continue to build in with time. And I know that at Women in Games, there’s the educational ambassadors program that is also growing.

16:08 Gemma Johnson-Brown So you have to be aware of cultural differences as well. Keywords is a global organization. Twelve thousand plus employees. It’s just massive. When I started with Women in Games, the ambassadors were 60. We’re now at fourteen hundred and with that comes new information. We have Women in Games Asia, which is our official pilot chapter. Cultural differences there. We speak to the directors that run that, the leadership team that run Women in Games Asia. They are on the Women in Games mission. We’re all working towards the same vision. But there are subtle differences within the gaming industry there and what’s required and what’s needed. So I think all communities, as long as you’re welcoming and inviting to everybody, which is our key thing, then we’re all going in the right direction.

17:01 Greg Posner Yeah, I think one of my questions I had, and we don’t have to dig into it now, is there are cultural differences. You look at places like the Middle East where they may not have as many rights as they do here. You look at places like maybe China, where they’re only allowed to game for a certain specific time a day. But being again in the middle of the year here, what would you say your biggest challenges that you’ve faced this year have been? It’s a loaded question, huh?

17:21 Gemma Johnson-Brown Yeah, it is. Well, for Women in Games, funds are critical. Partnerships like Keywords are critical for keeping us going. There is an economic crisis going on around the world. Training programs, diversity and inclusion, belonging programs all have budget cuts. There’s just a fact of it. So at the moment it is keeping our heads above water and trying to deliver on all the fantastic initiatives we have. We’re not supported by government or any other funding other than what’s through our events and our sponsorships. So that’s our most critical one. We have 11 spheres of action that go everything from community to policy and government. We’re working hard with partnerships with UNICEF as well. And we are aligned with the UN goal. So we have big visions. We just we need to get there and we will get there. I know we will, but it’ll take its time.

18:22 Mafalda Duarte I think the big visions in the small team is like one of the big issues all the time, right? Because it’s just we’re so grateful that our ambassadors make our impact feel so much bigger than what we could reach. If we were just just a team and that partners like keywords again, it’s just because of the sheer size of where they are in the world is like then that message reached there. And then people just assume that we have like a person in every every one of those countries and everyone. It’s like you have like this huge team and it’s like, oh, no, it’s actually, you know, there’s a six or seven.

19:00 Greg Posner Six part time volunteers that work our butts off to do what we do. Well, it’s awesome. And you keep talking about the keywords kind of partnership and how we’re enabling it. And I’m just curious from maybe Athena’s point of view or whoever, right? What is this partnership with between women in games and keywords? How is it working?

19:21 Athena Enderstein Our partnership is really born from what we’ve been talking about here, which is this shared goal. We from the keywords perspective, we want to make sure that we’re equipping the ambassador community because we believe in the change that it’s bringing over time to the gaming space with opportunities and ways to connect. And so that’s why we are together in this partnership. We also, of course, hope that some of that is directed towards internally within keywords. We have a bunch of ambassadors ourselves. You can follow their stories and their insights on our keywords blog and news. They’re always doing great things. And it’s great to it’s really wonderful to see both the internal and external impact that we are managing to generate through the partnership with women in games. And so that’s really what the essence is for us. And of course, there’s a lot of learning that we share together, I think, through our interactions.

20:29 Mafalda Duarte And hopefully we can build, continue to build on that as we collaborate more. Building on those challenges or like growth that we have together, I think a very good thing is what Emma just said, right? Because when there’s a crisis, the first thing that you try to do is stop supporting diversity because we can make games without it or whatever the mentality is. And through those collaborations, we can see, OK, maybe that’s a problem for both of us. How can we join and do something like, OK, we’re supporting you, I’m supporting you. It suddenly feels bigger, feels difficult to ignore. Now you cannot just say no to it because the space becomes occupied and then you feel like the loss of those programs or the loss of the people that are involved and they are motivated suddenly starts to to enter the status quo. And that goes to things like you’re just saying in the beginning, OK, you have all these women players. How can you make them feel part of the gaming community or even like to become developers? And the point is women players also mean that there’s a lot of money coming from them, right? If they are customers, then you need to treat them in a way that they relate back to. And so that is a point of you cannot ignore us anymore.

21:58 Greg Posner Well, it also comes down to right when you want to listen to a voice, it’s how do you incorporate it? And you two both work for studios, right? So when you’re building games, like when does when do you start factoring in kind of this decision on how do we enable women or does it not even come up when making like I know this is a weird question, but like where in the planning process does this start kicking in for you? Is it in the beginning or is it?

22:22 Gemma Johnson-Brown We’re just seeing a rise on female protagonists. Dovetails lead games is trains. So there are a lot of love for those, but not you don’t play you play in first person. So characters aren’t there. But we’ve all had conversations on diversity of characters. Yeah, so I think that it comes in at the planning stage. It’s important that you get diverse voices. Women and games are asked to consult on games that are in development, have a look through games, give advice and guidance on those. I think it’s a vital part in the design criteria. But I would imagine a lot of studios, those important voices are not at the table.

23:08 Greg Posner Should we say. So does that mean no Thomas the Tank Engine DLC? No, I can’t get the license.

23:14 Gemma Johnson-Brown But it was a good one.

23:16 Mafalda Duarte Oh, that’s great. For us at Telescope, our founders are both a man and a woman. The best friends got together, decided to make the studio. And so I guess that it started there for us, right? So they already knew that they were looking to have someone that would support the mission. And so they got me as their studio director. Eventually, I hired men so far, actually, we were a team of four. But it is just about the values and the way that people interact in the world. The diversity that we bring because we’re from different cultures, diversity that we bring because we value different things. Our programmer worked in a diversity inclusion program in the company they worked in. So for him, it was very important that we had that mindset. So that is also part of the change. It’s not about just our external features. It’s about the mission that we’re embodying. And so for me, it started literally in the first hires and in the first process. And that creates little design changes along the way. We were testing, we’re just prototyping right now. Our studio exists for five months. But we had this character, we were testing camera angles. And I have to confess, I’m a terrible player. And I’m very bad at controlling cameras and doing like first person or third person over the shoulder thing. Like shooters are not for me just because I’m bad. And we’re trying to do this very emotional game design. And once I played that camera angle, the game feels is not for me just because of the point of view. And no one in my team noticed that. And they were like, well, I don’t want to influence you guys. If you think this is the right direction, just go with it. But this is how I feel when I played it. And they were like, no, this is a good point. If you feel like that, something is up. Let us figure out what it is. And we switched to something else that everyone liked. And everyone felt included in something as simple as just like the angle of the camera in our game.

25:30 Athena Enderstein That’s making a difference. Yeah, I think one of the key things about diversity and inclusion is that for so long, society and also within the gaming sector itself, there’s been operating on default and the default norms and the default representation. And the reason why diversity and inclusion is such an important part of organizational frameworks now is challenging that default, making sure it’s inclusivity by design, making sure, as Mafalda, you’ve said now, we are at the very first point of development incorporating multiple perspectives.

26:16 Greg Posner For an average gaming studio, how do they change that mindset? You came in Mafalda and you already had that mindset, you kind of built it in. But how does a studio that already has their processes now, how do you start to change that mindset?

26:31 Gemma Johnson-Brown You’ve got to consciously want to. The key words have got Athena that leads a department on that, diversity, inclusion and belonging. You don’t need people to hide specifically for that. If you’re a smaller studio, you can go and gain that knowledge yourself. You can join women in games events. At every event that I’ve been at, I’ve learned something new about the industry. But the main thing is you’ve got to want to and you’ve got to be the agency for change that you want to see at every level. If you’re not in management, then be asking management why? Why haven’t we got diversity? Why aren’t we doing this? The workforce now is a lot more vocal than I’ve ever seen, which is fantastic.

27:20 Mafalda Duarte But it’s got to come to some action and to some conclusion of sorts. I wanted to add something that you just said about you want to want to. I would also say you want to make the questions. Because if you’re like, oh yeah, there’s no women playing our games or wanting to join the team or something like that, it must be because of X or Y. If you’re coming to your own conclusions without asking the target audience, why aren’t you doing this? Why aren’t you engaging with? Women in games has a mission that stands not only for studios and the individuals, but education. For example, in education that happens a lot, right? I’ve heard people saying, maybe hopefully not nowadays, but for a while I talked to teachers that would say something like, oh yeah, it’s just like my programming class only has one girl, so they must not like it. And it’s like, but why? Are they less? Before, I don’t know, whatever it is, the thing that brings you to that path, less women in math or science or whatever.

28:29 Gemma Johnson-Brown There is a lot of research in it. That’s what Mary Claire, our CEO, she was an educator and she wouldn’t put up with, I’ve only got one female in my class. So she looked at the curriculum, all of the curriculum was very male dominated. So she changed that. She actioned what she wanted to see and made those changes. And she was at 50-50 in gender when she left. That’s a great point.

28:56 Greg Posner I think the whole aspect around education is what is interesting to me, right? Because you mentioned you have to want to do it, but what happens if you just don’t even know, right? It’s kind of like maybe naiveness. Is that a word? I don’t even think about that, but I think once you start educating people about this stuff, that’s going to be the driver for change and that’s going to be what excites people about doing it. And with that being said, I, as your typical average white guy, right? How do I get involved in something like this to help? Because I believe in this mission.

29:24 Mafalda Duarte Join the ambassador program. Everybody can. See, lots of the people in the back can hear you. But even, I don’t want to speak against our program because it’s amazing, but let’s assume you don’t feel confident or you don’t feel like you belong and joining the program. There are other ways to support this is literally sharing our newsletter or podcasts or, you know, keywords was doing like a great job of like doing some spotlights of the work of different ambassadors and things like that. If you listen, share and talk about it, that is part of promoting the change in the awareness because that’s the question, right? It’s like, I don’t even understand that it’s a thing. Well, you need to exist in this space where people are talking about it. For example, for me, it’s very difficult to understand not knowing because my universe is filled with, I don’t know, developers that talk about it. Communities, associations, groups, students, schools, companies that have that mission in them, in their social media, in their communication, in their spaces, in their events. And just if you are there, it is impossible to ignore. But again, you need to start, you know, click follow and exist in this space.

30:45 Athena Enderstein So I would say to that point to find out for you what allyship means and start there. So what is the thing that you feel most comfortable about doing? Is sharing something? Is it maybe doing research on your own? Is it maybe getting involved with another group of men who are allies? What is the kind of direction you feel most comfortable with and start there? I think we’re all learning in this pursuit and we all need to begin somewhere.

31:19 Gemma Johnson-Brown So, yeah, we have male ambassadors, non-binary trans ambassadors, reach out to them. Part of being ambassador is being visible. So on the website, you can search for ambassadors in your local area, connect with them, find out what it is. And if you’re in the workplace and you see stuff that doesn’t seem right, call it out. That’s the thing, you know, one thing that I’m teaching my son, who’s nine, massive gamer, loves everything, just started to do online games, heavily supervised by me, by the way. And the other day he heard something he didn’t like and they upset him and I said, right, OK, how are we going to deal with this? Another player was bullying another player. I said, you’ve got to be held, hold them accountable. Call it out. And he did. And he felt so proud after. He’s like, oh, that’s really good. That’s what I’m trying to teach him and hope that others do it in the place, because we don’t see everything.

32:15 Greg Posner And if our silence is compliance sometimes. Yeah. I mean, I’m in New York right now. If you see something, say something, right? Again, if you don’t say anything or warn anyone, like bad habits are going to continue to be bad habits until someone stops it or says something. And I think maybe I’m naive. I have a five-year-old that’s also into gaming. Luckily, not online yet, but I believe in this next generation of gamers. I think they’re growing up seeing what’s happening in the world around us and they’re going to take it in. I think I also have a daughter and she’s starting to learn how to play games, too. Like, I’m excited about this. I think I have faith in the future of our kids to be able to continue this mission and take it to that next level.

32:55 Gemma Johnson-Brown Well, that is a brilliant segue to keyword superheroes, who I learned about at the Ambassador Only event, the Your Moderating program. And I think that’s one thing for kids is just learning the variety of roles in developing from support functions to business development. It’s not just programming and art, which opened my eyes when I come into the industry as well. Did you want to talk about the superheroes? I think that’s a great program that you have.

33:24 Athena Enderstein Yeah, our superheroes are… well, this is an amazing program, as you said. It’s about equipping our moderators to really be able to do a good job of their job, but also take care of themselves at the same time while they’re doing it. And this fits really strongly, I would say, with where we are today, the community clubhouse, talking about these issues. It’s about ensuring that they have psychological safety within their teams, but also that they’re taking care of their mental health and that they’re equipped to deal with all of the user generated content that they’re managing all of the time. And to your point, Jemma, I think it’s amazing how many roles there are within gaming. There’s a multitude of ways you can get involved, you can forge a career for yourself. And I think that’s a really positive thing, the more we can share that. Actually, I would invite people to go and look on our website to learn more about our superheroes and see more information about that.

34:36 Gemma Johnson-Brown So one of the things that’s important to building up these communities, managing them, is following a process, having some sort of tool set that people can utilize to understand how they do it. Are there specific tools that women in games teams use to help follow these rule sets? Well, we have a free guide on our website, which is available to download. And that covers deep research that Mary-Claire and Sharon Toglioni-Sage did for video games and e-sports studios. Mofelda has used the guide in the work that she does. So over to you.

35:12 Mafalda Duarte Yeah, I used it. One of the things that I wanted to do when the guide was out was I went through it. And it is the thing that I loved about it. It is not a list of problems. It is a list of solutions. So basically, the guide is divided in five, six areas of action. Now I forgot all of them. I know that it’s like community, education, policy, game design, and culture, culture development for like studios. So I know at least these five. And the thing is, so each chapter is going through different lenses and how to approach that big area of action. Like, what does that mean? What does it mean to be inclusive in community? What does it mean to be inclusive in game design? And those are all different. And there are two different moments that I use the guide in a way that I think is useful to our listeners and everyone else to understand that it isn’t something like, okay, how to get women in games or something like that. It is a guide to solve issues like, Atina was talking about mental health, for example. And elements there is like, okay, anti-crunch culture, right? That will affect all of us. So I did a panel with other ambassadors in Lisbon Games Week last year that we just went through those points in the guide and the audience in a panel format just talking about how we connected to those lenses. And there’s people in the panel, in the audience, these kids, they want to throw us off, but they’re asking, oh, but yeah, but like, I’m not a woman. Like, why should I care? And it’s like, do you care about a workspace that listens to you and to your points of view that you can communicate in? Well, we have the lens of communication and bias, and that is like something that can support you being listened to, that can support your managers to understand how to create space. Do you care about moving to another country or region or not in building community? So here’s like some points to support that. And yeah, in my work, when I was setting up the studio, the guide is one of the tools that I gave my team right away. So in our teams, we have a library space and library, there’s books on game design or other areas of development. And there’s the guide there because it’s like, okay, if you ever want to check one of these lenses to understand how to make the game design inclusive in some ways, it’s not how to make it. It’s like how to think it through because it has a bunch of questions like, have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? And that goes to your point of how do I even know how to be aware? And yeah, that is a great tool to be aware, but aware with some solutions.

38:13 Greg Posner A great tool. I mean, it doesn’t even sound like it’s necessarily for women in games. It’s almost like a guide on how to be a good, decent studio and build out processes in the correct way and thinking from the beginning. So it sounds like it’s for everyone. And it sounds like it’s an important tool that people should be checking out and reading. Yeah, it’s this inclusion by design again. So it gives you, just as Ms. Valdez said, the directions to do that. Inclusion by design. I got to keep saying that over and over again. I love it. It makes sense. And I think, I mean, throughout these past few years with everything changing in our world, I think it’s happening more and more. And we’re starting to see it more and more. Like you mentioned earlier, there’s more women protagonists in games. I know I’m playing Cyberpunk where my main characters are female. And I think we’re starting to see it and accept it in the culture. I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. I know I’m separating you from, I think, a happy hour right now, which I think after this day. First off, this is awesome. I am going to sign up to be an ambassador. After this, I think I will share and everyone should be. It’s only good things come from it. The more people that game, the better that will come from it. So I think the more people we can include and make a better community would be better for everyone. Is there any final words that each of you would like to say or message you want to send? Pressure.

39:23 Gemma Johnson-Brown Pressure. Lead with kindness. Lead with good intentions and support women in games in every way you can. Donate. That would be great. There’s a donation button on the website. Just be part of what you wanted to see.

39:42 Mafalda Duarte For me, I would say just don’t be afraid of being visible and share on the success of others. That’s like part of what we’ve been talking of. Just joining each other activities, visibility programs, because sometimes you help more by participating than by being the driving force in the sense that if you are there,

40:09 Greg Posner that person is going to be confident to do more. That is a big part of what you can do. Give space to others. I would say my final message is to just come join us. It’s great. You’ll learn a lot and we’ll learn from you. Thank you, Will. Ladies, I really do appreciate this. This is eye-opening. I think it’s a very important message. I’m excited to be a part and help spread that. I will make sure people donate. At least I will donate. This is fantastic. We’ll have all the information about women in games. I’m going to follow up on Gemma. Thank you so much for being here. I hope Gamescom is nothing but great success. Thank you so much. Thank you for having us.

Greg Posner

Avid gamer with a passion for storytelling. My goal is to unpack the narratives of customers, partners and others to better understand how industry-leaders tackle today's challenges.

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