To be ‘difficult’ is to challenge the status quo, to demand change where change is overdue, and to hold fast to the realisation of a vision of the world as  it could  be.

It’s often a label given to those who don’t fit neatly into pre-set moulds. When we talk about women in the games industry, the ‘difficult woman’ is one who demands a seat at the table, who asks uncomfortable questions, who disrupts the norms, and who is relentless in the quest for fairness and equality, which can be disruptive.

At Women in Games, we wear the label ‘difficult’ as a badge of honour. Why? Because the path to true representation and equality is not easy, but it is a journey worth taking. The recent Key Facts report from Video Games Europe (highlighted elsewhere in the newsletter) reveals that there are 7 per cent more women working in games in Europe – but women still only represent 22 per cent of the workforce. When half the population of the world is women, half the players of games are women, why does the industry workforce reflect such a staggering imbalance?

This further highlights the importance of our goals and missions. Not just to bridge the gender gap, but to ensure fairness, quash toxicity, promote entrepreneurship, and pave the way for the brightest talent.

And that brings us to the Women in Games Annual Conference – Questions of Disruption: Prospecting and Imagining in the battle for our future. This year’s event (October 10th on the Hopin platform), we frame our theme around direct, challenging questions – our modus operandi to disrupt the status quo. We look beyond just identifying issues, striving to build a constructive roadmap towards a progressive future. Our Priority Spheres of Action span a broad spectrum, from pay equity and opportunity to tackling toxicity within our spaces. We emphasise the importance of developing talent, fostering leadership, and championing education at all levels. Creative representation, advocacy, data-driven research, community building, and industry collaboration are not just buzzwords to us; they are pillars of our mission.

Our mantra remains unwavering: No one should ever be disadvantaged because they are a woman.

This year, expect to hear from powerful voices sharing their unique perspectives on breaking barriers. Their efforts at disrupting the norms and making strides in games, esports, and beyond give us hope. They remind us that every challenge we face is a step closer to a world where being ‘difficult’ is no longer necessary to achieve equality.

To everyone joining us, be ready to be inspired, to ask tough questions, and to drive change. Let’s embrace our ‘difficult’ nature, and find strength in collaboration.

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO, Women in Games