Breaking The Taboo Of Women In Gaming: Notable Figures Paving The Way
American poet Maya Angelou once said, “Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” For years, this idea of turning one’s passions into a career has been addressed, attempted, and even annihilated. Career decisions, some have said, should be based on opportunity and profit, not on attraction and allure. Yet this belief has largely been debunked, especially by industries like the social media influencer market, which has grown significantly over the years.
In short periods, individuals have taken their leisure pursuits and turned them into flourishing online businesses, such as Victoria Paris, the 22-year old Tik Tok creator that accumulated one million followers in five months. Indeed, turning your favorite pastimes into a career has never been easier in 2021. The creator economy is thriving, but we’re also seeing this shift in the video game and iGaming industries. Working for a gaming company has become highly desirable, but it’s not always easy for women who want to capitalize on this. Females can still face occupational segregation. For example, even though in 2015, women accounted for 44% of gamers in the United States, only 22% of US game developers that year were women. That said, the number of women in gaming and iGaming has increased since the 2010s. In fact, there are several women today helping to make ‘a career in games’ a nonexclusive term across all genders.
In particular, female gamers in India deserve much of the credit for transforming the gaming landscape. India is one of the largest iGaming markets today, with millions of unique visitors accessing the country’s various sites. For example, Genesis Casino in India, one of the top online mobile casinos in the country, offers popular games like Temple Tumble and bonuses, which appealed to a 43% female audience between January 2020 and January 2021, as revealed by an InMobi study. Female Indian gamers such as Saloni Pawar, who was the first female to represent India at an international esports tournament, and Shagufta Iqbal, who has almost 300,000 YouTube subscribers, have surely contributed significantly to these statistics.
Elsewhere in the world, female gamers like Fangs, who resides in the United States and has nearly 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, and AzzyLand, a Canadian gamer with over 10 million subscribers, are pushing boundaries. However, it’s not just that more women are playing video or online casino games in 2021, but we’re also seeing increases in the number of women working behind the scenes. For example, at the start of the year, Entain chose Jette Nygaard-Andersen to be the new CEO, which is a first for the UK gambling industry. Similarly, Therese Hillman has been a force to reckon with in the iGaming industry. In 2017, Hillman joined NetEnt as CEO and played a defining role in the company’s transition to a more decentralized structure. Hillman later became a member of Better Collective’s board of directors. Better Collective is the principal developer of educational platforms within the iGaming industry.
Women have been leading the way in gaming for decades, going as far back as 1964, when Mabel Addis designed the first computer-based text adventure game. However, issues like occupational segregation have created a negative public perception of women in the industry. Fortunately, this perception is changing as figures like Saloni Pawar and Therese Hillman continue to push boundaries.