Check out these ladies in the game dev industry Game Developer Barbie A friend of mine shared something with me that made my day. If you’ve been on Twitter these past few days — especially if you spend any time in the gaming side of the site — then you’ve definitely seen a brand-new hashtag popping up in your timeline. # is a brand-new initiative aimed at inspiring young women to pursue careers in video game development by highlighting women working passionately in the industry. GirlsBehindTheGames Since January 25 women from all over the world, and from every facet of game development, have been using the hashtag to share their own stories and their work with the world, putting a few faces to some of the work that’s gone into some of our favorite games. Thank you for the Sombra sprays! She’s my main hero. The campaign was started by New Zealand gaming company as an initiative to inspire more young women to pursue careers in their industry. The goal is to collect as many stories as possible between the start of the campaign and International Women’s Day on March 8. They’ve not only set up a — where they’re sharing some of the stories using the hashtag — but a that outlines the inspiration for their campaign: Runaway Twitter account website “Did you know that 47% of gamers are women and yet women only make up 22% of the game industry workforce? Runaway wants to help improve those numbers by increasing awareness of women in the industry and highlighting the incredible work they do.” According to their website, Runaway employs a team of 26 developers, nearly half of whom (10 in total) are women. They also boast women in their two leadership positions, serving as managing director and creative director. “Staff diversity enables our team to produce games that appeal to a wider audience, inclusive of women, and other marginalized groups,” the site explains. “But this kind of recruitment diversity requires a pool of talented girls to join — and be supported to remain in — the games industry.” The campaign seems to be doing its job as many of the tweets using the hashtag also include young women now inspired to join the ranks of the current Girls Behind the Games. Runaway is collecting stories on their website through a submission form where people can either write about their own careers or women who inspire them in the industry. They also have opportunities for current female game developers to mentor up-and-coming talent. If your a woman aspiring to go into gaming I encourage you to connect with the women sharing their stories. Be sure to thank these women before you move on to your next game or two. I’m always in awe when I see women pursuing their passions whether it’s for their own enjoyment or to help others. Women like myself need this hashtag right now because compared to other facets of tech, this is an industry where female involvement is still seen as an exception and not the status quo due to its predominately male employees and consumers. What was more amazing is that most of the tweets I’ve encountered are from women who are brand new to tech and art, yet decided to pursue gaming because of their passion for art, gaming, or tech — These women from different walks of life demonstrated resourcefulness and determination despite their educational backgrounds, previous work experience, and resources available to them. This is the type of social media campaign that will prove to the world (women especially) that there is value in the presence and passion of women working in gaming.