TjejHack is a new initiative to involve more women to game making. The project provides accessible entry points for women of all ages who feel passionate about games, and want to learn how to make their own games.
Girls who want to start making games may find it tough to enter a male dominated culture and there are few positive role models to go by. Even today, when approximately half of all players are women, there are still persistent beliefs in society that gaming is mostly a hobby for boys. This belief is perpetuated by the games that are made by an industry with only 15% women.
TjejHack capitalizes on the social and interactive power of games to get girls started with game making. The initiative is run by women for women, with the aim to empower girls to claim their part of the gaming culture. TjejHack activities are organized as workshops and clubs that teach basic elements of game making, providing participants with the tools they need to start making games the way they want to play. The initiative also introduces participants to a community that serves the base for continued friendship and peer-to-peer learning. With plenty of positive role models to go by, can start contributing to a game culture that acknowledges diversity beyond stifled notions about girl gamers and “pink games”.
There are obvious challenges with how to involve a target groups with little or no technical background in an active participatory design process. As part of the project, TjejHack will generate practice-based insights and procedures for co-creation and development with diverse target groups. The involvement of girls and women of all ages provides a wide perspective into the gamer identities, game preferences and game-related creative competences of target groups that have garnered little previous attention.
The driving force behind the initiative is designer/researcher Inger Ekman who spends her days doing game researcher whilst also instructing schools on how to use programming tools in the classroom. The TjejHack volunteer network joins together developers, researchers, teachers and practitioners with different backgrounds and perspectives into game making. And most importantly, it centers on its participants – girls and women of all ages who want to make games.
The first TjejHack activity will begin in September 2014, with meetings every Tuesday at 15:30-16:30, Segeltorp library (Häradsvägen 252). Starting September 16th, participants will get an introduction to game programming and design.
Inger Ekman, TjejHack coordinator