When Laila Shabir started her first Girls Make Games camp – a summer program designed to foster girls’ interest in careers in game design – the response she got from the parents of the kids who attended validated her effort on an emotional level.

“I wish this camp existed when I was little, I would be in a different place today,” wrote one mom. “My daughter came home the first day of camp and said, ‘Mom, I found my people!’” wrote another.

“It was obvious we’d hit a nerve,” says Shabir.

Shabir grew up in United Arab Emirates, where she says her parents “literally fought for my right to an education,” before eventually sending her to the U.S., where she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She went on to found an educational games company with her husband, but was dismayed to discover that it was almost impossible to find women applicants to fill key roles.

“When I brought up the lack of women to my team, I was met with ‘maybe girls just don’t like games?’ But I wasn’t convinced,” says Shabir.

Indeed, nearly 50 per cent of gamers are female, according to a study produced by the Entertainment Software Association, yet only 12 …read more

Source:: Financial Post – Tech

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