“There’s still much more to be done…” It’s a phrase we often use, and for good reason.

In games and esports, we are seeing positive signs of change when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Organisations like Women in Games are increasing their influence globally and have a seat at the table.

We are seeing more studios and other organisations joining us as Corporate Ambassadors. And, where once we were concerned that we were a mere tick box exercise, these companies demonstrate they genuinely want to work with us to promote change within their own organisations and across the wider industry.

We’re seeing more studios and businesses actively making cultural changes within the workplace – whether that’s menopause support, flexible working options to help those with caring responsibilities, returnship programmes, or the work being done to attract and develop more women into senior leadership positions. Indeed, elsewhere within this newsletter you’ll see the excellent steps that our Corporate Ambassador Technicolor Games has taken in that particular area.

Games and esports companies around the world are continuing to download and digest The Women in Games Guide: Building A Fair Playing Field, and we’re delighted to be invited to events to present this important piece of work. If you haven’t downloaded it, you can access it here for free.

We are seeing positive changes, particularly in attitudes and desires. And yes, there is still more to be done. But collectively – with our almost 1,000 Individual Ambassadors, our 50+ Corporate and Education Ambassadors, plus our allies – we can continue to take steps forward.

Outside of games, I fear that we are sadly taking steps backwards when it comes to women’s rights. We’ve already seen the devastating overturning of Roe vs Wade, which is effectively criminalising abortion in some US States.

The economic crisis around the world is disproportionately affecting women. On this side of the Atlantic, as the cost-of-living crisis increases, we are seeing more period poverty as prices at the supermarkets rise (although it should be noted that Scotland provides free menstruation products to women and girls), while women are going hungry in order to feed their children.

Maternity (and paternity) rights in the UK are being questioned by the new Government under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with recently appointed Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride asking the Government to “seriously consider” reversing maternity rights to help British business.

The UK Government has also quietly removed women’s reproductive rights from the Statement on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality. The move has been criticised internationally, with many organisations asking the UK to explain the move.

[We urge you to sign this petition to reinstate those rights]

In the EU actions on gender equality are a priority for the EU legislative mandate and this is positive action we see taking place. In 2022 the EU reached an agreement to impose a 40% quota for women on large company boards by 2026.  The European Parliament also voted on the Commission legislative proposal on equal pay for equal work, which proposes ‘baseline requirements’ in the field of pay transparency that would apply to any employer. It would impose additional requirements on organisations with more than 250 employees, including yearly pay gap reporting and the obligation to make joint pay assessments if the pay disparity is at least 5%.

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) is a committee of the European Parliament. responsible for the definition, promotion and protection of women’s rights in the Union and related Union measures including –  equal opportunities policy, the promotion of equality between men and women with regard to labour market opportunities and treatment at work and the encouragement of awareness of women’s rights.

We know that these are worrying times for women around the world and we want to hear your thoughts and fears. Please do contact us at hello@womeningames.org.

What can we do? As with the collective efforts of Women in Games when it comes to fighting for equality and inclusion within games and esports, we need to work together – fight together, make our voices heard and actions count!

There really is so much to be done…