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Empowering women in STEM fields with Lisy Kane

Alongside pathways for people wanting to get into game development and production.

Women working on games is still a rare occurrence despite so many women playing games. Historical, the gaming community as has been a male dominated space.

For those who identify as something other than a male, the notion of actually working on developing and producing games is not an easy pathway. While this may be true across the globe, Australian gaming developer Lisy Kane is passionate about changing this perception. I was lucky enough to sit down with her a couple months ago to discuss her road to success and the importance of encouraging women to get into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The rise of women getting into STEM across the country

Earlier this year, the second edition of the STEM Equity Monitor was released. This monitor is a national data report on girls’ and women’s participation in STEM. It examines the current state of STEM gender equity in Australia. If there are any new trends and changes and of course, what pathways women and girls are taking to get into these fields of work. The monitor has four main areas it focuses on. Primary and secondary school data, higher education data, graduate outcomes data and of course workforce data.

The findings from this year’s addition shows that more and more women are wanting to get into STEM:

  • Since 2015, the proportion of women enrolled in university STEM fields of education (undergraduate and postgraduate) increased by 2 percentage points. This reached 36% in 2019 (more than 81,000 women), up from 34% in 2015 (70,000 women).
  • The proportion of women working across all STEM-qualified industries has continually increased from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2020.
  • The proportion of key management personnel and senior managers who are women has also continuously increased from 18% in 2016 to 23% in 2020.

These statistics are but a few to come out of the report that reflect a shift in the types of people entering these fields, that more and more women are not only getting jobs but also slowly moving into the higher ranks of companies and organisations. However, in order to keep these numbers on the increase, the Australian Government and other organisations have been taking great measures to show their own support for these women and girls.

(Image Credit: Bri Hammond)

How the Australian Government is supporting and encouraging women and girls in STEM

In the past decade, the government has taken great step to encourage women and young girls to pursue careers in technology and science. The Women In STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program is one such example of the support being offered to young women who may lack the opportunities or resources to enter these fields. Earlier this year, three different programs were given funding, all of which centre around providing Indigenous women the opportunity and resources to develop their skills and interests in STEM.

  • Queensland based science and research company CSIRO received $248,804 through the WISE program to provide training to indigenous women and rangers. Granting them the opportunities to learn how to better manage their traditional lands through the use of data and artificial intelligence applications.
  • NSW based Food Futures Company received $250,000 to help Indigenous women get a start in the native agriculture and food sector.
  • Another NSW organisation to receive funding was Young Change Agents Limited. Their $250,000 grant was given for their ‘Lighting the Spark’ project. A project that aims to deliver design-focused entrepreneurial workshops to 600 Indigenous girls and young women aged 14-24 across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.

These three programs all aim to help to build digital skills and literacy and opens up new job opportunities from the Indigenous women. Having Government show support and provide funding is a positive example of things to come in regards to further encouraging all Australian women to aspire f0r any and every career they desire.

Why Lisy Kane is a great role model for all these young girls and women getting into STEM

Working as a production manager for local gaming development team League of Geeks, Kane knows the struggles of being a woman in games. Not only that though, she knows how tumultuous the journey as a whole can be. How the path to getting into the game industry is not as cut and dry as other careers.

(Image Credits: Girl Geek Academy Website)

More than that though, Kane recognises the challenges women face across the tech industry and through the STEM fields. It was these personal experiences that encouraged her to co-found the organisation Girl Geek Academy. Girl Geek Academy is a fantastic organisation that helps train women throughout the tech industries across the globe. They run workshops, seminars and all sorts or programs, aal tailored towards enabling women with the skills, tools and experiences needed to face their respective workforces and careers with confidence, understanding and a great support system of fellow women. In such a male dominated area, the work that Kane and the rest of the Girl Geek Academy work do is so important. Not only are they supporting these women but they are also creating safe spacers for them to discuss their passions and career aspirations.

In our chat, we spoke about how Kane was able to navigate the gaming world early in her career and what some pathways to enter the field in Australia are. How many other young women resonate with the struggles this can journey can entail and why it’s so important to encourage all types of people to get in the gaming industry and the STEM field as a whole.

To hear the full interview and our conversation, check out the audio below!

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About the author

Eleni Thomas

Eleni has been playing videogames for as long as she can remember and has been writing about them since starting her journalism studies in 2019.

A lover of all games but a giant Nintendo nerd, she even has the Triforce tattoo to prove it.