Women's Month: Women + Gaming!

During Women's History Month, my mind fondly turns to my mother, who played a pivotal role in introducing me to the world of console gaming. While it was a shared interest fostered by both my parents, with the tabletop Pac-Man arcade game as a nostalgic starting point, I credit my mother particularly. She was my steadfast companion in gaming, offering even greater encouragement for the passion we shared. Of course, my experience with my mom isn't just about gaming. It's important to counter the enduring stereotype that questions women’s interest in video games though, because I honestly didn't come from that. My mom, my female siblings, and my female cousins gamed (and still do). There's a certain pride in defying such narrow expectations. Existing in that grey area is a beautiful thing because we had a blast together... and some of you can say the same thing.

Reflecting on this theme, a situation from my past springs to mind. As a project manager for a game development project, I encountered resistance when I appointed a woman to a leading role within a department. The project was already underway, but they needed someone to bring structure... so I was brought in to make sense of it. Despite the urgency of our development timeline, this appointment unexpectedly became a controversial issue due to one team member's inability to accept her leadership. His reaction was so extreme that he shut down altogether. I was honestly like... WTF is this?

Confronted with this obstacle, I engaged in a sincere discussion with the disgruntled team member. His unease, as he revealed, stemmed from the false notion that reporting to a female leader was demeaning. My approach wasn't to embarrass him but to highlight the valuable experience and insight he forfeited by not acknowledging her expertise (which was far greater than he had). I emphasized the importance of being open to female leadership, which is an inevitable reality in any professional landscape (it just boiled down to where he'd end up working). It's irrational to jeopardize one's career because of a woman's leadership role. And it wasn't like she was being mean to him, she went by the book... followed objectives and everything ran smooth outside of that guy. That is... until I got his mind right.

Addressing such bias is crucial, and he had to be challenged on what his experience was (in one of a series of one on one meetings so that he understood that her experience exceeded his and it has nothing to do with her gender) – and not to generalize; this isn’t the mindset of all men which is a good thing but does it exist? Yes! Is it a win? No, undermining or contesting a woman's leadership based on gender can hold back the individual pushing prejudice (in this case sexism)... along with their growth. Don't let this be you.

Anyway, let's acknowledge and celebrate the women whose leadership has shaped some of the incredible games that enliven our leisure time and to the ladies who don't game... pick up a controller and game on! There are varioius options from casual games to the most challenging games that some guys even shy away from... because it's all about what you prefer to play.

By the way... don't miss out on the current Humble Heroines game bundle!

 + Sophima 

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