Celebrating International Women's Day
For this year's International Women's Day, we wanted to spotlight just a few of our incredibly talented women who are a crucial part of Bend Studio. We hope their words will inspire other women to break into the gaming industry and continue to #BreakTheBias to forge women's equality everywhere.
There are so many hard stories out there about the suffering that women in the game industry have to endure. It breaks my heart, and it makes me wonder if I’m qualified to be writing to you all now, because I’ve lived a blessed life. Blessed, because my parents fully supported and empowered me to take charge of my future. Blessed, because my friends and coworkers respect me as a person, rather than doubting me for my gender.
I know that the world, let alone the game design industry, still has countless flaws. We cannot be complacent, and we all need to work together towards a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. But I believe a world free of bias is possible because I’ve watched the way my director’s eyes light up when I described my work on how animal behaviors could improve our game. I’ve seen, in a clash of voices, my team members naturally yield to my turn to speak. The schools I’ve been in and the people I’m around every day have proven it is possible for a woman to feel valued and celebrated for her own strengths and abilities.
There’s a lot of darkness, but there’s a lot of light. Keep striving, and I’ll be cheering us all on.
It can be overwhelming to think about where to "start" when we think about breaking the bias and working toward a world of diversity and equality.
When you find yourself as one of the only non-male persons in a room, or the only person of your culture, whether it be a school class or a work meeting, it can be daunting and even self-sabotaging when your focus shifts from the topic at hand to thoughts on whether you belong in that room at all. I feel immense gratitude for Champlain College and Bend Studio for uplifting me always and assuring me that I belong where I am today. That being said, my heart will not be satisfied until all women and marginalized persons can feel the same.
While it is up to us to speak up and make ourselves heard, the weight shouldn't be borne solely by the minority. It's also the responsibility of the majority to advocate for diversity in the workplace and foster an inclusive environment.
As we celebrate International Women's Day, let's remember that having inclusion in the games industry WILL reflect in the games we make, and will hold a strong significance to players from all backgrounds when they interact with the worlds we create.
There was a moment in my childhood where my friends who were girls stopped playing games, and feeling alone, at that moment I realized I wanted to make games for my friends and others who felt shut out by the gaming culture, especially since the perception at the time was that “games are for boys.” I made games for my friends. When it came time for college there were no game design programs. To try to find the path I majored in computer science, architecture, and then film, which got me on the path for grad school at MIT where I studied Comparative Media and wrote about the powerful mechanic of secrets in games – the way we spread and share information as a community, and the powerful bonds we make as players in the games we love, no matter who we are. We are all fans.
I broke into the industry at Irrational Games Australia as a level designer, then later at Irrational Boston as a narrative designer, and I make it my mission to make games a place where everyone of all of diverse backgrounds and ages feel welcome, both in studios and in the games we make. Games change the world and how we relate to each other. Here at Bend I’m excited for what comes next as we work on inclusivity and our incredible collective imagination.
Join these inspiring women and help build the future of Bend Studio! Check out our current openings over on our Careers page.