Women Game Jam 2021 – 5th Edition

Women Game Jam (WGJ) reaches its 5th edition and, after the success of 2020, which had more than 1000 participants and 100 games published, from 14 countries, the 2021 edition will be the first step towards what we plan for the future, a hybrid event. There will be some in-person sites in Australian capitals (Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia) and will continue online in other countries. The idea for the future is that the event’s capillarity can continue to grow online and that more and more countries and cities feel empowered to host the event, enabling cis women and trans and non-binary people from different countries, cultures and races to together develop games. The 2021 edition comes with many new features. The event will take place from the 20th to the 22nd of August, and will have, during August, cycles of lectures, panels, workshops and all this entirely online.

Among the new features of 2021, we have the launch of We Game Jam in the Brazilian chapter of the event. Women Game Jam was born with the purpose of including more women in the gaming industry. As the editions went by, we realized that other gender expression groups also needed to be welcomed and encouraged. Until last year, we welcomed other expressions not necessarily feminine within the event, but we were informed of the problem of receiving such audiences in an event with the name Women (women) as an identity. From this, seeking to welcome and develop an autonomous community within the games industry, We Game Jam was born, a sister event to Women Game Jam, which takes place on the same date and server, with its own channels and content, focused on the trans-male audience. The idea is to identify and strengthen this community so that the event gains more and more audiences and autonomy to decide their specific needs and demands, while talking to and including themselves in the current structure of the Women Game Jam.

This year’s edition comes with a focus on exchanging experiences, building a strong, united and engaged community, so that we have an increasingly diverse and welcoming ecosystem. Today, Women Game Jam is the largest gender-based game development marathon in Latin America. We have already registered a 10% increase in the number of women in the industry in countries like Chile, simply due to the emergence of the Women Game Jam. In Brazil, the organization is still unable to measure the real impact of WGJ, as the latest data is prior to the beginning of the event, according to the 2nd Census of the Brazilian Games Industry (2018), women represent only 21% of the workforce in the games industry and, globally, transgender people represent less than 2% – we need actions that introduce and create possibilities so that these people can work as game developers.

Game Jams are often the gateway to a career in game development, as they concentrate people with common interests and different levels of experience, being, for many people, the first possibility to develop a game and start building a portfolio. However, the current scenario is still dominated by men and can make many feel that they “do not belong” to this environment. This feeling is often accompanied by discomfort, either due to harassment or due to differentiated treatment given to women. Therefore, the event exists: to create a welcoming environment, to provide support and, above all, so that these minorities feel that they have the freedom to create, exchange, learn and make mistakes. A place where these people can feel safer, stronger and, consequently, more empowered when they see themselves reflected in all participants and, thus, start to occupy these spaces, making them friendlier to people of any gender, race and creed.

The invitation is for every woman and/or trans person and/or non-binary person who wants to experience the game creation environment for the first time, and also for those who already are in the industry and want to share knowledge with more professionals and have fun, growing in the process. It is the first step within many to come, so that together we can make game development more human, professional and diverse.

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