A new scholarship aims to encourage women to consider a career in the video-game industry. The $30,000 Women in Games scholarship will be awarded to a student entering the Vancouver Film School’s one-year game-design program.
Su Skerl, a producer at Vancouver’s Hothead Games, told the Straight that such initiatives are important because women are underrepresented among game developers. On Sunday (February 8) at the school, Skerl will take part in a panel discussion on women in the industry, as part of the annual Game Design Expo.
“Women are interested,” Skerl said by phone. “We are seeing more women game designers and programmers, and we’re seeing women managers.”
However, Skerl added, “there’s still some catching up to do.”
According to Krissie Franco, executive vice president of production at Santa Monica’s Hydrogen Whiskey Studios, only 14 percent of people working in the video-game industry are female. One reason for the disparity is that, until recently, girls haven’t grown up playing games in the same numbers as boys, Franco told the Straight.
“They [boys] understand there is a great industry to work in,” said Franco, who will be one of Skerl’s fellow panellists. “There are not as many girls who see that as an opportunity.”
But things are changing, Franco said, because today more girls play video games. Having female role models in the industry also helps, she said.
The Women in Games scholarship covers tuition and materials such as books and software.