by Julianne Stahl
In March, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a CSG Associate, announced a $1 million, multi-year initiative with the ESA Foundation and Black Girls CODE (BGC) to support educational and mentoring programs for girls and young women interested in technology. The initiative boosts BGC’s mission of teaching coding and technology skills to one million girls and young women by 2040. Black Girls CODE introduces computer programming and technology to girls ages 7 to 17 by providing workshops, hackathons and after-school programs. Areas of focus include web design, robotics, game development, mobile app development and more.
“Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Our industry is committed to expanding opportunities in our sector by working to grow talent and spark interest and excitement for STEAM careers, especially for those from underrepresented groups,” ESA President, CEO and ESA Foundation board chair Stanley Pierre-Louis said. “Since the ESA Foundation’s mission focuses on diversity as a central tenet, it is ideally positioned to lead, develop and manage this industry initiative and bring to life our partnership with Black Girls CODE. Our goal is to attract more girls and young women into software coding and related technology fields. We look forward to celebrating the success stories of these young women as they develop their skills and become technology leaders in the video game industry and beyond.”
According to ESA’s “2021 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry,” the video game player community identifies as 45% female and 55% male. Among the community, 73% identified as ethnically white and only 8% identified as Black or African American. The commitment of the ESA and Black Girls CODE introduces an expansion of representation for young women from underrepresented backgrounds to explore the video gaming industry among other technology-related fields early on in their life.
“The partnership between the ESA Foundation and Black Girls CODE is tailor-made for this moment,” ESA Foundation Executive Director Anastasia Staten said. “We believe our program will have a lasting impact on girls and young women who otherwise might never have considered careers in the video game industry. And the most exciting part for me is that, beyond their generous financial support, some of the world’s leading video game companies and their teams are committed to mentoring young women in ways that will open up opportunities to explore STEAM careers and create entertaining video games that all of us will want to play.”
The partnership includes direct financial support as well as investments in volunteer time and other industry resources to support curricula, workshops and mentorships. For more information, about the Entertainment Software Association, visit www.theesa.com.