This is a guest post from Sylvia Butanda, Program Director at Latinitas, a nonprofit with a mission to empower all girls to innovate through media and technology.
The reflection of women and women of color in the gaming industry is minimal, yet 47 percent of the gaming market is female – nearly half of the market’s game players – and 76 percent of female gamers believe it is important or extremely important to have female protagonists in video games.
Austin is ranked 3rd in the country for gamer and development opportunities, yet we see a lack of diversity with women and minorities taking part in these industries. This is an important conversation – learning how to begin to open up the tech and gaming industries to inclusivity.
Therefore, Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas will host a Game Chica Conference on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 9am to 4pm at HomeAway at the Domain (11800 Domain Boulevard #300 ) to cultivate new voices in the game generation.
Latinitas is honored to have Gracie Arenas Strittmatter, the Technical Art Director at BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts (EA), in Austin, Texas, as our keynote speaker. Arenas Strittmatter is the first woman in her family to graduate from college and is an advocate for the inclusion of women and minorities in tech. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, this 9 1⁄2-year veteran of the gaming industry has worked on popular titles including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Madden NFL, NBA Live, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour. Strittmatter is passionate about introducing students around the country to careers in games through EA’s University Relations Team, as well as helping young minorities learn the in and outs of the gaming industry. She strives to increase the diversity within the gaming and tech industries.
At Latinitas’ annual Spring conference, girls of all backgrounds between the ages of 9 and 18 will be introduced to professionals in the technology industry from companies like Dell Technologies, Certain Affinity, Far Bridge, and Looty Games, and gaming groups, such as Juegos Rancheros Collective, in order to explore game art and design, as well as experience gaming demonstrations.
“Austin is known for being the capital of independent game development, yet a lot of girls – especially girls of color – may not know this about their city. And, while channels like Twitch have taken video gaming to millions of viewers in every corner of the earth, we are still hard-pressed to find empowered female narratives in gaming,” said Latinitas Founder and CEO, Laura Donnelly. “Game Chica is about putting girls as young as nine and as old as 18 in charge of developing their own video games with their own experiences, gender and culture driving the story.”
The cost to attend Game Chica is $15, which includes lunch and a two hour workshop for parents. Financial assistance is available for those who may need it. The event is sponsored by Cirrus Logic, Google Fiber, HomeAway, FarBridge, Argo Design, and the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department .
Interested professionals may sign up to volunteer for the Game Chica Conference and find additional information at www.gamechica.com.
For 16 years, Latinitas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been empowering all girls to innovate through media and technology, providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services to nearly 3,000 girls and teens across Texas annually. Founded by two journalism students fed up with the lack of representation of Latinas in media and technology industries, Latinitas presents enrichment programs at Texas schools, libraries and community centers that use culture as a thread to teach web and graphic design, blogging, video and audio production, photography and of late: video game and app development and coding.