Women make up nearly 50 percent of gamers, yet when it comes to those individuals working in the video game industry, they're less than 12 percent. An organization called Girls Make Games, driven by San Jose-based company LearnDistrict, is dedicated to changing the landscape for aspiring video game designers and writers via a series of events, workshops, and demo days all targeted towards young girls who are interested in making games.
At their latest summer day camp, held at the PlayStation campus in San Mateo, CA, registrants aged from 8 to 17 will participate in several classes over the three-week period, including introductory courses on game design, art and programming. According to a field piece about the camp from ABC News, "95 percent of the games girls make have a strong female protagonist."
Girls Make Games founder Laila Shabir said that the idea for the program came about after she graduated from MIT and started designing games intended for young girls, but noticed a lack of women in her chosen field. "I would go to all these conventions and I didn't find women. I ended up with six boys on my team and I kept asking why there are no women. Everyone would say they didn't think girls played games or didn't want to make games."
Now, Girls Make Games is in its fifth year of motivating and encouraging young girls to pursue their dreams, spreading to over 140 participants at eight camps across the United States. Those participating in the summer camp and designing their own game will be judged by some of the top professionals working at game companies like PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo. The winner will see their game published and available for play worldwide.
If you want to learn more about Girls Make Games, as well as any events being held this year or how you can support, you can visit their website.