'I loved games from a very young age, but I didn’t ever think that games could be a career.'
When Lisy Kane started attending games events, she was often one of very few women there. These days, Lisy wants to see more women building the internet and she has been proactive about it. She co-founded social enterprise Girl Geek Academy, whose mission is to teach technology skills to one million girls by 2025. Their programs include coding workshops for girls as young as five, hackathons and initiatives in 3D printing, games development, design, entrepreneurship and startups.
“Our next step is working with teachers and schools to try and encourage more girls to be involved. That’s the barrier we’re facing, it’s getting unsure students who are excited about programming to take the plunge. Once the girls are at Girl Geek Academy, the way we teach is very fun and very interactive so it is relatively easy from that point.”
More and more women and girls are getting involved in games via hackathons, engaging events hosted by Girl Geek Academy that facilitate team work and skill-building. “When you are creating teams for hackathons, you definitely have to have a mixture of a Hacker, a Hustler and a Hipster,” Lisy explains. “A Hacker is a programmer; a Hustler is the business and marketing person who can go and sell; The Hipsters are our designers, someone who visually understands how to put the product together. This team mix works across all of our events, which includes hackathons for start-ups and game jams.”
Lisy is also a producer at Melbourne indie game development studio League of Geeks. She worked on their highly successful game Armello, which was first released in 2015 and has won a range of international awards. Yet, she finds she is still met with resistance to the idea of women creating games and wants to get to the bottom of why this is.
“Every time it happens, people are furious, and I don’t know why. My own assumption is that they are scared of change and they don’t want to have their toys taken away from them. Call of Duty is still being made every year, Fortnite just came out. We still have these games, the world still turns. I just don’t understand it, and hopefully one day we won’t have to ask that question. But for now, it continues to be a thing.”
Perhaps the best way to remedy the outrage is to continue educating and making a significant impact in her field. Lisy has this covered; In 2017, she was the only Australian to make the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 2017: Games list.