Women in Gaming Awards 2015

Women in Gaming Awards 2015 png

This past Friday I won the Star of the Future award at the Women in Gaming Awards in London. It’s nice to win stuff, especially when it’s your competitors and other industry experts voting on it. I felt quite honoured.

The WiG Awards (thankfully, we don’t call it WIGA) are a bit unique in that each winner has to give a short speech when picking up the trophy. Like most of the people there, I think, I started planning mine over dessert and coffee, and I fumbled a bit when on stage. But I have a blog! And so (drumroll please) here’s what I meant to say when I stood on stage last Friday and mumbled incoherently into the mic.

In my job, I meet a lot of operators’ management teams. And, although it’s getting better, I’m still often the only woman in the room. How often are there no women in these rooms? Although the stats on UK boardrooms are showing us that we’re approaching the government-set target of 25%, and that’s twice as good as when we last measured in 2011, it’s just not good enough. Anything less than 50% is just not good enough.

We women need to do our part in ensuring equal representation in business. My 4 recommendations to the women who want to make some waves and see equal representation across management teams in our industry:

  1. Try for that promotion even if you only satisfy 2 out of 5 of the qualifications. Your male colleagues will.
  2. Support the other women in your office. This could be in a formalised way such as a mentor/mentee relationship, or just going out of your way to congratulate someone on a job well done or wish them luck for a difficult presentation.
  3. Don’t be afraid of being branded a feminist. That term has been subverted[1] and it’s about time we take it back. If you look up the definition of feminism, you’ll find: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Do you believe that women are equal to men, and you’re not afraid to say it? Then stand up straight and call yourself a feminist.
  4. Read and share Sheryl Sandberg’s works. It’s hard to have a discussion these days about women in the workplace without mentioning her. Her TED talk and her book Lean In are hugely popular, and rightfully so.

Let’s us women work together to enact change in our industry.

Thank you.

[1] It’s hard these days to find the word “feminist” without adjectives like “rabid”, “militant” or simply “angry”. That’s just tragic. (And it makes me a little angry.)

About the author

Lydia Barbara is the head of Pegasus Gaming Solutions, Microgaming's consulting division. Lydia has been in the gaming industry for 13 years and is considered one of the online gaming industry's top thinkers on poker and other forms of gaming. Connect with Lydia on LinkedIn.