Gender equality in the gaming industry is an important issue. This is evident not least in the number of applications for DONNA DAY – two days where female game students and game developers from all over Sweden come together to participate in workshops, listen to panels and to network. The event, which this year is being held for the fifth time, will take place in Skövde on 13-14 October, in connection with the Sweden Game Conference.
The DONNA network, founded at the University of Skövde in 2011, wants to make game education and the games industry more equal. The work will result in an equal gaming culture and gaming industry where women and men can participate and contribute on equal terms.
The admission statistics for the game development educations in Skövde clearly show that DONNA has had an impact. When the network started ten years ago, 10 percent of the game students were women. Last year, it was close to 30 percent.
"DONNA is in its tenth year and we have worked extensively with the issue of gender equality. The main focus has been on increasing the proportion of women in our educations, creating an inclusive study environment and gender-conscious education, and working for an equal and inclusive gaming industry. Through DONNA, the game ducations in Skövde have had a platform to work for gender equality in several different areas, but where all staff have more or less been involved," says Jenny Brusk, founder of DONNA and Innovation Advisor and Business Coach at Science Park Skövde.
This year's DONNA DAY is more popular than ever and has more than doubled the number of applicants from last year. With over 120 applications, 80 game development students and 20 mentors will be present over two days where DONNA DAY focuses on gender equality in the industry and challenges that awaits game development students as they enter the job market.
"We are overwhelmed by how much interest DONNA DAY generates. But we have a generous and attractive offer, we have several interesting mentors that support us and we have a good reputation through our former participants and mentors," says Jenny Brusk
Jenny also believes that gender equality in the games industry is a highly important and current topic, where DONNA DAY is a sounding board for exchanging experiences, not least among students who are about to enter the job market.
"DONNA DAY prepares our students for working life by addressing relevant questions about how to apply for a job, what career opportunities are offered and what it is like to work in the games industry. They also get the opportunity to start building a personal network of both active game developers and students who will soon enter working life."
This year, new partners have been added to DONNA. Among them are MindArk, DICE and CCP Games. Coffee Stain Studios and Star Stable Entertainment are already partners.
"We are so proud to partner with DONNA DAY for the fifth year in a row. At Star Stable Entertainment we strive to put females in focus at every touchpoint, across our 360 entertainment, to artists on our record label, to our employees (54 % whom currently identify as female). We share our core values with DONNA DAY and we are proud to support such a progressive and impactful event that aims to open the doors for more talented women into the gaming industry," says Ina Berntsson, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Star Stable Entertainment.
Jenny Brusk argues that DONNA DAY would not have happened without partners and mentors.
"Some have been involved from the very beginning, and it is great that DONNA has grown with additional strong partners, which makes it possible to offer free participation for all students. We design the DONNA DAY program together with our mentors who do a fantastic job of equipping students for the future," says Jenny Brusk.
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