Some of gaming’s most influential women encourage others to join them.

Following the success of the eye-opening #1ReasonWhy campaign – which has aimed to educate the public on the hardships and roadblocks keeping more women from joining the ranks of designers, developers, and so on – several of the most influential women in the industry took to the GDC stage for a panel titled #1ReasonToBe. But rather than focusing on the obstacles still in place for aspiring female game creators, the talk centered more on the accomplishments of the speakers, and the idea of cultivating a more welcoming environment that will allow both sexes to thrive in the industry on equal ground.

The speakers included Robin Hunicke (Executive Producer for Journey), Brenda Romero (Renowned game designer, currently working at UC Santa Cruz), Mattie Brice (Game critic and columnist), Kim McAuliffe (Game Designer, Microsoft), Leigh Alexander (Editor, Gamasutra), and Elizabeth Sampat (Game Designer, Storm8).

Each woman spent time detailing their individual paths to their current profession, as well as both the frustrating moments – like Robin Hunicke’s conversation with a cab driver right here at GDC, who insisted she was “the hottest nerd” he’d ever seen – and the highlights, like a small book given to Brenda Romero from her young daughter which noted that her dream was to grow up and create a videogame alongside her mother.

It was without a doubt the most passionate panel I’ve attended at the show, and as I walked out of the room with the rest of the attendees, hushed voices uttered words such as “amazing” and “intense.” I couldn’t agree more, but while events like this are a fantastic way to shed light on the issue of sexism within the industry, the problem can’t be solved by a few passionate individuals alone. I encourage all of you to join in the conversation on Twitter, which can be done using a simple hashtag search for #1ReasonWhy or #1ReasonToBe.

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