Women make up about 22 percent of the game industry. But some industry leaders want to increase that percentage, and they think that providing more women speakers at events will help. So the Open Gaming Alliance is partnering with Unity Technologies to launch WISER (Women in Software and Entertainment Representation), a women’s speaker bureau that will help event organizers find more women as speakers.
The speakers bureau is the first effort by the nonprofit OGA’s new Creative Leadership Special Interest Group, which is headed by co-chairs Megan Gaiser (diversity strategist and CEO at Spiral Media Ltd.), and Cindi Wiggin, game dev event manager and diversity lead from Intel.
WISER is a collective of female professionals working in gaming, entertainment, and technology interested in speaking on panels, serving as emcees for conferences, presenting at public events, and teaching workshops. These women are experts in their field and speak on topics ranging from leadership, product management, engineering, design, and market trends.
The OGA said that WISER includes company representatives and leaders, independent creators, and business professionals. The OGA is officially kicking off recruitment for the speakers bureau and is asking women interested in speaking to sign up here.
“We believe having a wide range of experiences and voices does more to help business excel. We are thrilled to be partnering with Unity as one of OGA’s corporate members to bring this great resource to fruition,” said Wanda Meloni, the executive director of the Open Gaming Alliance and CEO of M2 Advisory Group, in a statement.
The goal of WISER is to evolve the conversation from getting (and keeping) women in the fields of gaming, entertainment and technology, to normalizing their presence by increasing visibility and representation at events and on industry stages. The overall objective is to encourage and enable women to be on stage speaking about their specific area of expertise.
Professional women interested in speaking at industry events and conferences can visit WISER and fill out the speaker profile form, without fear of that personal information being sold or shared for other purposes, the OGA said. The OGA will then coordinate with various conference organizers and OGA corporate members looking to broaden their speaker list.
Unity recently announced its commitment to empower and encourage women in the greater gaming community and boost gender diversity, beginning with their first initiative, the Women in Gaming workshop series.
“We’re passionate about encouraging women’s participation in the broader gaming community, of which events and conferences are an incredibly vital,: said Elizabeth Brown, chief people officer at Unity Technologies, in a statement. “By making it easier for qualified women to contribute to the conversation, we can ensure their voices are heard and contributions recognized, while continuing to lay the groundwork for the next professionals to come.”
In a statement, Gaiser said, “I am excited to support the OGA and its members to ensure diversity of people and thought becomes integrated as an organizational priority, to foster the collective intelligence of each organization.”
Wiggin said in a statement, “I’m thrilled to be part of this leadership and diversity SIG that will drive impact and change around gender diversity in the gaming industry. Prioritizing diversity and empowering girls and women with computing and leadership skills is a personal passion. Let’s all #LeanInTogether.”