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Our next Meetup is the WIGJ Networking Lunch during Develop, 15 July in Brighton, UK

Marie-Claire IsaamanWIGJ Lunch 2014Women in Games WIGJ is pleased to announce its sixth annual Develop Networking Lunch for women in games on Wednesday 15th July in Brighton. Game developers and supporters of women in games who are going to Develop 2015 or live and work in reach of Brighton, Sussex, UK are invited to a free lunch and chance to network with up to 100 others working or planning to work in the games industry.

Our guest speaker with be WIGJ CEO, Jenny Richards-Stewart, who will update everyone present on some exciting initiatives under development including the trialling of a mentoring scheme and this years European Women in Games Conference, which is set for September 2nd in London. We will also hear from Hall of Fame Award winner, Marie-Claire Isaaman, Subject Leader MA Games & Senior Lecturer Digital Innovation & Research, Norwich University of the Arts who is responsible for sponsoring this event. Students have voted NUA as the best specialist arts, design and media university in the UK in the National Student Survey 2014 for the second year running. We are grateful for NUA’s support

This lunch takes place during the Develop conference but is not part of the conference programme. You do not need a Develop ticket to attend. There is a free expo at the Develop Conference in the Hilton Brighton Metropole (only 50m away) which is an excellent opportunity for you to talk to the games companies exhibiting there. Men are very welcome as guests of WIGJ supporters.

Brighton is less than 1 hour by train from London and Brighton Music Hall is about 15 minutes walk from Brighton Station directly on the seafront below the level of the main seafront road opposite the Brighton Centre.There are only a limited number of places which are being offered on a first come, first served basis. This event is by ticket only so you will need to book your place through MeetUp here. Get the event in your diary. Book your place now!

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WIGJ with TIGA publish free Equal Opportunities Policy templates for UK games businesses

Women in Games WIGJ in partnership with TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers, and trade association representing the UK video games industry, has published two free equal opportunities policy templates for UK games businesses, prepared by Stevens & Bolton LLP and Osborne Clarke. As previously set out in TIGA’s Leap 2014 Report – taking a proactive approach to encouraging diversity makes good business sense for games employers and educators alike. Measures that broaden the pool of talent available to the industry can only be helpful.

The equal opportunities policy templates have been made available to help UK games businesses follow and potentially improve practices in two important areas: HR and employee marketing. Whilst diversity in games is a complex issue with a range of causes and solutions, it is also something that all organisations can do something concrete to address – particularly when it comes to ensuring that a company appeals as much as possible to people of all backgrounds.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommends that employers have some form of equal opportunities policy. An equal opportunity policy can help to set minimum standards of behaviour and reduce the risk of legal action. However, as part of their employee marketing strategy, UK video games employers and educators may also wish to consider the tactics below, which some TIGA members have reported as being effective for increasing diversity within their organisation:

• publishing profiles or photos of the existing team on their website where appropriate, and where staff are happy to be featured, to show how diverse their teams are and encourage a greater diversity of applicants;
• publicising any policies that are, for example, family friendly such as “flexible working” or “no crunch” policies;
• including a short policy statement on equal opportunities when advertising any vacancy e.g. “We are committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity. All applicants will be considered on their merit, qualifications, competence and talent, regardless of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation”;
• drafting and sharing a code of conduct internally that emphasises the organisation’s commitment to fair and equal treatment of all employees;
• proactively catering for staff with disabilities and showcasing their work and potential;
• considering how your work environment is presented at e.g. university open days;
• having more balanced imagery on the company or course website, with a more equal mix of genders and ethnicities and also imagery that reflects the creative range of the art form;
• having as diverse a range of spokespeople representing your organisation as reasonably possible;
• showcasing both female and male employees’ work; and
• simply putting some time into thinking about, writing and communicating a strategy for increasing the diversity of your company.

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, said: “TIGA is committed to strengthening the UK games industry by sharing best practice business advice that developers and digital publishers can apply practically in their own companies. “I would like to thank Lloyd Davey from Stevens & Bolton and Anna Chamberlain from Osborne Clarke for donating their time and expertise to create these excellent equal opportunity policy templates, and also to Women In Games for supporting this idea. Together, we can help build a stronger games industry and promote equality of opportunity in the sector.”

Jenny Richards, CEO, Women In Games, added: “Following Women In Games announcement of our 10 year target – to double the number of women in the UK videogame industry, we are very pleased TIGA is making these high quality templates freely available to all games businesses. Best practice HR and employer marketing with respect to diversity does not have to be expensive or onerous. What makes a difference is just putting some conscious thought into how you can create and then show an environment that is welcoming to as wide a range of people as possible. Having a rigorous and prominently displayed equal opportunity policy on your recruitment pages could be the difference between someone applying for a job at your studio, or even in the industry, or not.”

More information at http://www.tiga.org/news/press-releases/tiga-publishes-free-equal-opportunities-policy-templates-for-uk-games-businesses

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Women in Games WIGJ sets target to double the number of women in games in 10 years.

Jenny Richards CEO WIGJWomen in Games WIGJ, announces today that its core objective is to double the number of women in games working in the UK and European Games Industry by 2025.

We recently reviewed our strategy with a group of interested parties including representatives from a number of key publishers and developers and have identified a layer of initiatives that will be revealed in the coming weeks and months to accelerate the movement towards this goal. We are already in discussion with a number of industry groups including Ukie, TIGA and STEMNET and hopes to collaborate with as many other interested parties as possible to make this dream a reality.

The Women in Games WIGJ network is open to both women and men. WIGJ believes firmly that encouraging more talented girls and young women to consider a career in the games industry will not be at the expense of others. The games industry needs to hire the most talented, creative people to compete with other industries in tech and the media. The games industry in the UK and throughout Europe is generating many new jobs though tax breaks and the continued growth of new formats. The growth of the games sector will create additional opportunities for all.

Recently appointed CEO, Jenny Richards-Stewart commented, “More girls and women playing games mean more women are interested in working in the games industry but we should not assume that this will solve the current gender imbalance without the industry doing more to welcome a more diverse workforce. Intel working with the IGDA demonstrated in January a significant commitment to bring more women and other diverse talent to the tech and games industries.  We want more companies to step forward on issues of diversity and inspire the next generation of talent .The games industry in the UK and Europe is keen to do more and we are here to help. We want the games industry to get behind this goal. ”

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, added: “It is important that we promote equal opportunity and encourage diversity in the games industry. We want to give everyone an equal chance to work in the creative and exciting world of video games. We also need to broaden the pool of talent our industry can draw upon. TIGA commends Women In Games for its vision and ambition and look forward to working with them in the future.”

Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, said “Women represent 52% of regular players in the UK, but they only make up a small proportion of the games industry workforce, far behind other creative sectors. We have a shared responsibility as an industry to take action to ensure a diversity of people are inspired into a career in our sector from a young age, and stay in the sector. We are doing that via our Digital Schoolhouse programme as well as through the Video Game Ambassador scheme, and we actively encourage a diverse range of people to put themselves up for Ukie Board election and to speak at events.”

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Former Gremlin Group’s Jenny Richards-Stewart to join Women in Games Jobs as new CEO.

Jenny Richards CEO WIGJWomen in Games Jobs (WIGJ) is delighted to announce that Jenny Richards-Stewart is to join the not for profit organisation as CEO. Jenny has had a long and impressive career in the games and education sectors. She was joint CEO of Gremlin Group PLC and presided over its sale to Infogrames/Atari in 1999. She was the Chair of the Board of Governors at GamesAid sponsored, Paddington Academy for six years and she has worked for a number of diverse companies including digital mobile marketing agencies as a non-Executive director. Throughout her working life she has been a passionate advocate for encouraging women to maximise their potential.

David Smith, Founder of WIGJ commented, “The WIGJ network continues to grow. It now has nearly 5000 supporters globally and this year’s annual conference was again a sell-out. The level of awareness of the gender imbalance in the games sector has increased significantly since WIGJ was founded but there is much more to do to encourage the recruitment and retention of a more diverse games industry workforce. We think Jenny will help bring WIGJ to the next level of becoming a professional membership organisation capable of working with government, trade bodies, employers, those already working in games and job seekers to campaign for a more inclusive games sector for the benefit of the games industry as a whole.”

Jenny Richards- Stewart responded “I have attended several WIGJ events and fully support their aims and aspirations. I feel that there is need for an organisation within the games industry which promotes equality and encourages new talent to join this exciting industry. I think WIGJ has done some great work in this arena and has the potential to become even more influential. I want to take WIGJ forward to the next stage by developing closer ties with key organisations and raising its profile in the games industry.”

There will be the opportunity to meet Jenny at the next WIGJ London Meetup on Wednesday 12th November.

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Jenny Richards-Stewart to speak at next London Meetup, 12 November at MeWe360

MeWe 360 OfficesmewelogoWomen in Games Jobs is pleased to announce the next London Meetup will be held at MeWe360 offices, Golden Square, London W1 on 12th November 2014 from 6.00 – 9.00 pm.

MeWe360′s mission is to provide support to creative business potential that might otherwise go untapped. http://www.mewe360.com/ These meetups are the opportunity for anyone interested in gaming to meet leading, female video game professionals and an opportunity for you to network with other women in the industry over a drink. Men are welcome too.

We are delighted to welcome Jenny Richards-Stewart as speaker. Jenny is former CEO of game developer and publisher, Gremlin Group which was listed on the stock market in 1997 with 300 staff and a market capitalisation of £25m. Gremlin was first known for games such as Wanted: Monty Mole for the ZX Spectrum and Thing on a Spring for the Commodore 64. It then scored big with the Zool and Premier Manager series in the early 1990s, and then with Actua Soccer, the first football game in full 3D, adding Golf, Tennis and Ice Hockey to their Actua Sports series. In 1996, Gremlin acquired DMA Design (creators of Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings). After 1999, they themselves were bought by Infogrames/ Atari.

Since 2000, Jenny has worked with The Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise. She was Chair of the Governors of Paddington Academy school, the specialist school for performing arts, media, business and enterprise co-funded by the United Learning Trust and GamesAid.  She is currently CEO of SportingNation.com a site that helps grass roots sports players in schools, universities and in the community manage their active lives.

This meetup is free and open to all but anyone wishing to attend needs to register and confirm attendenace at our Meetup group at http://www.meetup.com/WIGJMeetup/events/213103322/

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Over 4700 join our own Women In Games Jobs LinkedIn networking group. Have you?

Women in Games JobsJoin THE professional network for women in online and video gaming! If you are a women in the games industry and member of LinkedIn, you can now get together with over 4700 others who share the same interests. This is now the largest grouping of women in games in Europe.  Don’t miss out on the inside track!

Please link through to http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2739553 . Start a discussion, share news! Just join the group and start networking. Good luck.

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Feedback confirms high ratings of European Women in Games Conference 2014.

Elaine ReynoldsThanksTrang Ho to nearly half of delegates who completed the feedback form on-line. We will take all your comments on board for future conferences and events. With a similar feedback format to last year we can also make some year on year comparisons.

Over 1 in 8 delegates were male (2013, 1 in 5). 42% of delegates were aged 26-35 ( 2013, 59%). Nearly 75% were under 35 (2013, 85%). 58% had 5 years’ experience in the games industry or less (2013, 57%). Only 60% considered themselves to be working already for a developer or publisher compared to 80% last year.
26% of delegates rated the conference with the highest score of 10 out of 10. ( 2013, 38% ) The average rating was 7.5 out of 10. (2013, 8.4).

Elaine Reynolds of Ireland’s Simteractive and Trang Ho of Microsoft were the most highly rated speakers. With the 2 careers panels after lunch being scored most highly. Criticisms included the disorganisation after 11.30 caused by the late cancellation of a key note speaker and a panel chair who was delayed but these were more than offset by 2 excellent career panels after lunch. For 71% of delegates, it was their first time at the European Women in Games Conference. 80% reported that they were interested in attending the conference in 2015. (2013, 88%)

Here are some of the final comments.

“It was a great experience overall. The people were great, the panels were great.”

“I learnt a fair bit about it and like to work in it more now.”

“It was an amazing experience that showed diversity and equality within gaming.”

“Overall it was great and the energy was very positive.”

“I am glad that this event exists and hope it will keep getting better.”

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Catharina Lavers Mallet and Marie-Claire Isaaman Inducted into Women in Games Hall of Fame

WIGJ-2691 (640x520)Catharina Lavers Mallet, who is Head of Studio at King in London and Marie-Claire Isaaman, who is Course Director for the BA Games Art and Design course at Norwich University of the Arts were inducted into the European Women in Games Hall of Fame at yesterday’s European Women in Games Conference. The Hall of Fame was created in 2011 and is sponsored by EA. The awards were presented by Catalina Lou, Head of Publishing of EA’s Free2Play Games.

Speaking after receiving her award Catharina said, “I’m very proud and grateful to be a part of this group which supports women working in the games industry. Thank you so much for this award and to Women in Games Jobs for organising such a useful and helpful event for women in our industry.”  Marie- Claire added,” I‘m delighted to receive this award. It’s wonderful to get recognition for the work we do at Norwich University of the Arts in nurturing and supporting talent into the games industry and I see this not only as an award for myself but for both my course team and my students.”

Yesterday’s event which was held at London South Bank University and hosted by the university’s BA (Hons) Game Cultures degree course was a complete sell out with over 245 tickets sold. Attendees enjoyed a mix of speeches, panels, the award ceremony and the world premier screening of Boy’s Toys? a documentary film by Elke Teichmann and Eef Den Boer. David Smith, Founder of WIGJ commented “Yesterday’s conference was our best attended yet. It is very gratifying to see the conference grow year on year. The generosity of London South Bank University in supplying a first class venue meant we could peg the ticket price to an accessible level for all delegates. I would also like to thank NaturalMotion, EA, Green Man Gaming, Creative England, BAFTA, IDGA and TIGA for their support.”

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European Women in Games Conference, London – September 10th – is sold out.

Sold OutAll our tickets are gone. Over 240 speakers and delegates are expected.

Andrew Webber and Emma Mulqueeny have prepared their keynote speeches. 4 panels with 24 panellists are all set to go  - 3 in the main conference with 1 as an option in the break out sessions. 20+ HR Professionals are all geared up for the HR Managers Forum featuring the Talent Keeper, Jessica Chivers. Over 300 have voted so far for the 4 nominees for the European Women in Games Hall of Fame Awards. The world premier of  Boys’ Toys? Documentary Film by Elke Teichmann & Eef Den Boer of Oxford Brookes University is in the can and ready for transmission.

It is a jam packed day and it is sold out. Sorry if you meant to book but now cannot make it. Thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this stage.

You will be able to follow all the day on Twitter @wigj with the hashtags #ewigconf & #ewigawards.

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Luca, Mallet, Isaaman and Bestwick shortlisted for EWIG Hall of Fame Awards. Voting now open.

WIGJ European-Women-in-Games-ConferenceEA-LogoThe European Women in Games Hall of Fame Awards 2014 #ewigawards sponsored by Electronic Arts will take place on 10th September at the European Women in Games Conference. #ewigconf

Only members of the WIGJ LinkedIn or Facebook groups or Twitter followers are entitled to vote. But you can join the WIGJ LinkedIn or Facebook groups or follow @wigj on Twitter immediately following the vote.

Members of the WIGJ LinkedIn or Facebook groups or Twitter followers can vote now at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ewigawards

The nominations shortlisted for 2 Hall of Fame awards are Roberta Lucca, Catharina Lavers Mallet, Marie-Claire Isaaman and Debbie Bestwick:

Roberta Lucca says on her Twitter bio that she is ‘keen to see more women in top jobs’. As Co-founder of Bossa Studios, she’s an inspiration and role model. Over the course of less than four years, she has grown Bossa from four to 30 employees, and the studio has launched five games, including the incredibly successful Surgeon Simulator.

Catharina Lavers Mallet is Head of Studio at King, the company famous for its creation of Candy Crush. She got the job in 2012 after proving her expertise as Producer and Executive Producer at both Playfish and EA. Mallet has said that King doesn’t do crunch, which is particularly beneficial to women who – like Mallet – are mums.

Marie-Claire Isaaman works to support women in games at the important education stage, in her role as Course Director for the BA Games Art & Design course at Norwich University of the Arts. When she took up the post seven years ago, there were only two female students on the course. Now, around 40% of the students are women. The course boasts several notable alumni, including three BAFTA winners and the V&A’s first ‘Games Designer in Residence’, Sophia George.

Debbie Bestwick is Managing Director at Team17, the indie studio that she co-founded in 1990. Key titles include the Worms™ series. She uses her 20+ years of experience in the games industry to support independent game development, which includes writing about indie development for Develop. She and her female coworkers call themselves ‘the teamster girls’.

Vote now at : http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ewigawards

Tickets for the conference are still available at http://ewigconference2014.eventbrite.co.uk

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