Marketing and Partnership Director, Women in Games
Lucy Rissik, the marketing and partnerships director of Women in Games, shares her experience as a woman in the gaming industry, while giving advice for those looking for mentorship in a male-dominated field.
Before joining Women in Games in March of 2020, Rissik had been working in the gaming industry for ten years in a variety of roles. She worked at several different agencies and was a brand partnerships manager at Electronic Arts before co-founding her own agency. Throughout all of these ventures, Rissik has been involved with the women-in-gaming community, surrounding herself with others who aim for equity and parity for all women in the video game industry.
Despite the fact that 46 percent of gamers are women, there are very few who work in the gaming industry, let alone in leadership positions. “Women and girls don’t openly talk about being gamers. Often, this is a reason why they dismiss the industry,” Rissik said.
According to Rissik, there are only two ways that this will change — either women in leadership roles have to transition over from other industries, or women have to be educated about the jobs that are actually available to them in the gaming world.
“There are many varied roles [in gaming],” she explained. “For example, outside of Women in Games, I have a brand partnerships agency focused on the industry. I am someone who puts brands into games and creates marketing campaigns outside of them. Beyond marketing, there are people who work on the music in games, create amazing concept art for characters, or develop beautiful worlds where the games are set.”
A larger issue
Rissik acknowledges that the lack of women in senior roles is an issue across the tech fields in general, but hopes that with further education, more girls and women will see gaming as a thriving career opportunity.
Another area of potential influence is inside the content of the games themselves. Strong female characters and storylines may help draw women into the community, but there are surprisingly few out there.
“Seeing diversity in any form across video games is an amazing thing,” Rissik said. She mentioned that the gaming industry can take notes from other marketing campaigns, such as Dove’s campaign for “real beauty,” where all types of bodies are celebrated. After all, as Rissik said, “Not all women are built like Lara Croft.”
Many women who are interested in gaming may seek out mentorship or community-minded organizations. In such a competitive industry, women supporting women feels paramount. With this in mind, Rissik offers advice to other women thinking about pursuing working in video games.
“If you’re looking to come into the industry, I would research the different roles, companies, and games that interest you,” she said. “Reach out to them and see what events they are attending and speak to their HR or recruiters. Definitely attend events, many offer discounted rates for students, and learn.”
She recommends reaching out to other female professionals in the industry, as mentorship is a sure-fire way to help bolster your network.
“Many companies have set up groups to support women internally and are looking at their diversity policies,” Rissik said. “There are some great games companies out there that are doing so much to get more women into the industry, and many who recognize the issue and are doing as much as they can to change it.”