Women in Games International brings underrepresented communities to GDC Women in Games International brings underrepresented communities to GDC
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Women in Games International (WIGI) announced today that it is once again appearing at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) this week. It’s bringing new programming and mentees for its Get in the Game Program. It’s also partnering with companies such as Oculus Publishing, Amazon Games, Google for Games, Embracer Group, Unity, Savvy Games Group and Xsolla.

WIGI’s Get in the Game Program offers 10 mentees a series of networking and mentorship opportunities, as well as an all-expenses-covered trip to GDC. The partnered companies offer their own opportunities for those in the program. Shana Teri Bryant, executive producer at Oculus Publishing, said of the program, “We are excited to partner with Women in Games International on this year’s Get in the Game GDC program. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are at the heart of what we do at Oculus Publishing, and we are proud to support initiatives that elevate developers from underrepresented groups.”

This year, its programming also includes an 18K “Run for Equality” charity event, which begins at the San Francisco conference and ends at Gamescom in August. Interested participants can log miles on the ground at the two events, or in games such as Roblox and Minecraft. WIGI intends to use the event to raise awareness of the games industry’s gender pay gap.

WIGI’s GDC opportunities

Joanie Kraut, WIGI CEO, told GamesBeat in an interview that it’s not just funding that it can offer attendees. “It’s mentorship. Every day we have at least one mentorship meeting where we meet with C-suite and VP women who share their stories. It’s just us in a room, so it’s an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback on your specific career journey… It’s an amazing opportunity to set goals not just for the day but the next five years. And it’s building a community and impactful networking.”

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WIGI’s Get in the Game Program began in 2021 (with 27 applicants for the first group of mentees, Kraut told GamesBeat). According to the organization, around 90% of mentees receive a job offer within weeks of the program’s end. Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, said in a statement, “At Savvy, we are passionate about equality and diversity, not only within our business but also in the broader games industry.”

Kraut said that the program serves nascent creators and industry hopefuls who might not otherwise have access to these resources: “It’s a lot of amazing people who are really passionate about the games industry, who really want to succeed within the games industry, and who are just lacking that mentorship and opportunity. We’ve seen a huge uptick of applicants from underserved countries, or countries that don’t have as strong of an industry presence… We’re offering powerful women to mentor them and show them there is that possibility, so they can see themselves in a successful position.”

Caelus McKeel, a former mentee of the program, said, “WIGI provided me with a week full of learning not only about the industry I have loved since I was a baby, but also a week full of learning about where I see my future in it. My mentors were the most supportive women ever and I’m so grateful to have been able to call them my friends just a day after meeting them outside of our hotel lobby.”

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