The Entertainment Software Association and Red Bull Media House are expanding their We Are initiative at next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The ESA Foundation (a nonprofit branch of the ESA) launched it at last year’s E3 with a photo gallery of women in the games industry, but this year it will also host a series of panels starring speakers like Naughty Dog game designer Liz Fiacco, Funomena CEO Robin Hunicke, and IGF chairperson Kelly Wallick.
The ESA Foundation has been working with Red Bull Media House on the initiative from the start, and it is also teaming up with Facebook for a video booth so that women at E3 can share and record their experiences. On June 12 and June 13, panels will run throughout the day at the We Are booth, covering topics such as esports, creating video content, and running a small studio.
“The We Are photo gallery celebrates the women who are the industry, who shape the community and the work at every level,” said ESA Foundation executive director Anastasia Staten in an email to GamesBeat. “Even just looking at that one facet of the initiative, we’re talking about the representation and inclusion of nearly 100 companies and studios, as well as women who play competitively or are content creators.”
The ESA Foundation started in 2000 as a scholarship program, and it runs the annual fundraising event Nite to Unite. Since its inception, it has raised more than $20 million, which goes towards things like the Education Challenge Grant for teachers who use interactive media in the classroom as well as youth programs that are centered on tech.
After E3, ESA Foundation plans to host networking events and panels as part of its We Are initiative.
“Inspiring new female voices and talent to join the video game industry begins with showcasing the legacy of women and the impact they continue to have on video games,” said Staten. “We know women have great interest in video games—roughly half of gamers in America are women. The number of women in video game development grows every year. The We Are initiative shows the next generation that they are welcome and valuable here, and guide them on the path to bringing their passion and talents to the video game industry.”