Video gaming is a pastime which keeps growing and growing with no signs that it's ever going to stop.
According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada in a 2018 report, 23 million people in Canada play video games. They say that makes Canada one of the biggest per capita populations of gamers in the world.
They also have another surprising figure -- half of those gamers are women. For people not into gaming, that's surprising because the gaming world also has a reputation for being an exclusive club for young men. The 2014 Gamergate controversy happened recently enough that people still remember it. Gamergate was a harassment campaign targeting female game developers, specifically naming feminists as the kind of people they didn't want in gaming. And their contempt extended to anyone who was trying to bring diversity of any kind into the culture.
It can be a tough place for anybody who is trying to work with games which counter these values and work towards inclusion, not exclusion.
Jean Leggett is a feminist video gamer and game developer from Oakville, Ontario, who actively resists the people she calls "the angry toxic dude bros" by fostering an environment which is accepting of all. In her role as CEO with One More Story Games, she's a frequent speaker at gaming conferences where she talks about gaming and inclusion. She has just received a scholarship from the International Game Developers Association Next Gen Leaders Program. The goal of the scholarship is to bring diversity into the gaming world by supporting participants with personal and professional development opportunities.
She talked to Victoria Fenner about the scholarship, and most importantly, why diversity needs to be encouraged in the gaming world.
Image: Jean Leggett, One More Story Games. Used with permission.
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