“Gamechangers: Girls for girls.” Equipping girls and young women with the skills and experience they need to become the architects of a diverse, inclusive, and safe digital Armenia
Adolescent girls are unlocking their potential in game industry
GYUMRI 26 July, 2023 – UNICEF joined the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), and Gyumri and Vanadzor Technological centres in the closing ceremony of “Gamechangers. Girls for girls” two-day bootcamp. The event brought together 70 participants from 3 marzes to empower young girls in the field of game development. The event was also attended by Malena, UNICEF National Ambassador and Junior Eurovision 2021 winner, who inspired young girls to continue their efforts in perusing their dream career.
"Gamechangers: Girls for Girls" is a programme aimed at girls aged 12-24, with a focus on fostering their engagement in video game creation. By empowering them as influential contributors to the industry's future, the initiative seeks to reduce social stereotypes and misconceptions that hinder girls' involvement in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The programme was implemented in Shirak, Lori, and Syunik regions, receiving more than 300 applications from girls interested in STEM. Out of these, 120 participants were selected, with 70 girls specifically interested in game design advancing to the final stage. Participants were organized into 12 teams, each tasked with developing a unique video game.
The programme is part of Game Changers Coalition, a partnership call-out to the gaming industry and beyond to join UNICEF in bridging the gender digital skills gap, equipping adolescent girls to become coders, designers, and leaders of a more inclusive, diverse, and safe digital future.
Congratulating the participants and thanking the organizers, Deputy Minister of High-tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia Davit Sahakyan noted: "It is remarkable that the involvement of girls and women in the IT sector in Armenia exceeds the global indicator, which stands at 26 percent. Today, over 40 percent of women contribute to this sector's growth. Yet, we mustn't rest on these achievements but continue to stride forward. Nowadays, game technologies permeate various sectors, from education to business. I am confident that the programme's participants will use the acquired knowledge to become game-changers in the international market. As a Ministry, our duty is to support them in their efforts."
“Though women and girls represent nearly half of the world’s 2 billion gamers, less than a quarter of the gaming industry workforce are women. Though they demonstrate to have the potential, they cannot always choose to pursue this career path. This initiative contributes to changing this reality, closing gaps and expanding opportunities for girls and young women. said Silvia Mestroni, UNICEF acting Representative. “Girls should be provided with the opportunity to explore their interests and dreams and make their own decisions about what they want to do in life, in gaming or elsewhere.”
Through education, resources, and mentoring, the "Gamechangers: Girls for Girls" programme equipped young girls with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support to embark on a successful career in game development. The project comprised of three main stages, each focusing on different aspects of game development.
During the Soft Skills and Idea Generation phase, participants cultivated essential abilities such as teamwork, collaboration, project management, artistic and critical thinking, creativity, and public speaking.
The Digital Skills phase enhanced specific digital competencies related to game development, such as crafting stories and comics and mastering the Unreal Engine 5 toolkit, an advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.
The Project Management and Implementation phase focused on applying the acquired skills and knowledge practically. At this stage, participants worked with experienced specialists to refine their game prototypes.
“I am delighted to see that so many young girls are being equipped with the right skills and opportunities to excel in STEM field careers, “said Malena, UNICEF National Ambassador, “With this new learning and inspiration, I’m sure they will be more empowered to share their voices and influence decisions that affect their lives.”
Over two days the event featured the testing of games created by girls participating in the programme through interactive stations, panel discussions, and presentation of game ideas, concluding with an award ceremony for the best ideas.
In May, Armenia’s Gamechangers delegation, which consisted of representatives of EIF’s Gyumri Technology Center and “Gamechangers. Girls for girls” programme participants, traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to attend UNICEF Innovation’s Gamechangers Coalition event representing Armenia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.