If you've been on Twitter in the last few days—especially if you spend any time in the gaming side of the site—then you've no doubt seen a brand-new hashtag popping up in your timeline. #GirlsBehindTheGames is a brand-new initiative aimed at inspiring young women to pursue careers in video game development by highlighting those women already making their mark on the industry.
Since January 25, women from all over the world, and from every facet of game development, have been using the hashtag to share their own stories and their work with the world, putting a few faces to some of the work that's gone into our favorite games.
The campaign was started by New Zealand gaming company Runaway as an initiative to inspire more young women to pursue careers in their industry. The goal is to collect as many stories as possible between now and International Women's Day on March 8.
They've not only set up a Twitter account—where they're sharing some of the stories using the hashtag—but a website that outlines the inspiration for their campaign: "Did you know that 47% of gamers are women and yet women only make up 22% of the game industry workforce? Runaway wants to help improve those numbers by increasing awareness of women in the industry and highlighting the incredible work they do."
According to their website, Runaway employs a team of 26 developers, nearly half of whom (10 in total) are women. They also boast women in their two leadership positions, serving as managing director and creative director. "Staff diversity enables our team to produce games that appeal to a wider audience, inclusive of women, and other marginalized groups," the site explains. "But this kind of recruitment diversity requires a pool of talented girls to join -- and be supported to remain in -- the games industry."
The campaign seems to be doing its job too, as many of the tweets using the hashtag also include young women now inspired to join the ranks of the current Girls Behind the Games.
Runaway is collecting stories on their website through a submission form where people can either write about their own careers or women who inspire them in the industry. They also have opportunities for current female game developers to mentor up-and-coming talent.