Vanessa Vieira Dias started playing videogames at age six and found them “more than a hobby” and so found a future option, eventually founding “Videogame, She Said,” a networking community for women in the industry.
At the age of 30, ‘Junglist’, a graduate of communication sciences, writes and creates podcasts on Glitch Effect, a news portal dedicated to video games, and founded the Videogame community, she said, among other communication functions.
In 2012 she completed her degree at the Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the Technical University of Lisbon, her thesis focused on “an analysis of the consumption and communication of video games by females”. The thesis shows an analysis of the type of advertising used to promote video games and consoles, a player profile, preferences of the female audience and collections of testimonials and interviews.
Cited are data from Marktest that show a gender asymmetry when it comes to the possession of consoles or a computer to play on, showing that between 2006 and 2007, 58.6 percent of homes with a man had a game console, compared to 41.4 percent of households with a female representative.
In 2017, Marktest presented a study that placed the percentage of Portuguese with a home console at 33.5 percent, which does not include the computer, with men above average (39.2 percent) and women to stand by 28.4 percent.
After the research, a professional path was followed for Vanessa Vieira Dias in which she went through to the specialized publication BGamer, among other publications, reaching the time to found this community. “In June 2019, I found myself thinking that I knew many players, but few players. I thought it was very strange, because I knew they existed, but I ended up playing a lot more with friends. What can I do to change that?” she then wondered. This is “a selfish” way of starting a community, she jokes, and gave rise to a group “for players and women working in the gaming industry”, who meet for “conversation, exchange of experiences and networking”, according to the presentation of the project.
The sixth meeting, and the first of 2020, was in February, in Lisbon, calling all kinds of interested, from casual to ‘hardcore’ players, and passing fields of action such as programming, communication or ‘publishing’. At first, she confesses, she didn’t even know who was going to show up. “About 20 women from all areas of gaming emerged” and this response “showed that there was room and need for a project like this.” “It is very important that these women can connect and facilitate the process of finding work and opportunities, of helping each other. It’s a lot easier to meet, so we’re all together. And also create a safe space for exchanging ideas and experiences, in which everyone can share what they want safely, because it is a space of total acceptance, as inclusive as possible, without any kind of discrimination”, saves Vanessa Vieira Dias.
The covid-19 led to a change ” in terms of the strategy”, with online meetings, which led the initiative to “break borders”, with participants from Macau, and also live in Lisbon, with several people from Porto, for example. This creation of “a way for women to help women” fits into a “very good” year of 2020, with “the national scene becoming much more robust”, but that still, by the smaller dimension when compared to other markets, has “very difficult” entry into the professional fabric. “Since it’s so difficult on its own, and with more male professionals, which seems to me to be the reality, I wanted to open this channel to have women help women,” he adds. With “a group of women who work in the industry” and have “the importance of marking a position”, it becomes easier “someone to arrive”, he concludes.
Asked about the toxicity of video games, recalls “complicated reports of abuses of several women in the international field”, to comment that at the national level there may be an “inequality” of numbers but, on a personal level, never felt “discriminated against by peers”. To combat this disparity, “even if there are more and more players,” The Videogame Said She wants to “normalize” the presence of women in the business, so that the day comes when “there is no need to fight for these barriers to disappear.” In terms of communication and advertising, he points out, there is still “a lot of difficulty in communicating video games, because the target consumer continues to be seen as a man.”
This perception, moreover, happened with “friends” of Vieira Dias, who questioned her, after seeing photographs of the meetings, about the existence of “so many women playing”. “It is important not only to demystify for other women, but also to show men that none of this is unicorn, they are normal women. There’s not a guy, there’s no such thing,” he says.