Interview with the Ismini Boinodiris Roby co-founder of WomenGamers.com
Ismini Boinodiris Roby is the co-founder of WomenGamers.com. WomenGamers.com launched in 1999, for both men and women. WomenGamers.com enjoys a strong membership on the site but also acts pro-actively in the Gaming Industry. Ismini Boinodiris Roby has spoken on many gaming panels and WomenGamers.com is now offering scholarships for women to attend DigiPen,Guildhall at SMU, and the newest scholarship to National Computer Camp. I sent Ismini some questions WomenGamers.com and the scholarships they are offering.
Hi! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What was your first game? What got you really interested in the Gaming Industry?
My name is Ismini Boinodiris Roby and I’m the chief editor and co-founder of WomenGamers.Com. I’m actually not sure exactly what my first game was. It might have been Microsoft Adventure or possibly Pong. I’ve been playing games as long as I can remember so my memory is a bit fuzzy on the early details.
What was your inspiration to start WomenGamers.com? How long has your site been running?
In May of 1999, I was asked to speak on a panel about marketing games to women. At the time, my friend and I ran a small hobby site for women who played FPS games. The site had no more that 29,000 hits a year so I was rather surprised that someone wanted to fly me to NY and pay my expenses to have me talk on a panel. My sister, who had already started her own consulting company, brainstormed with me after the conference. We came to the conclusion that there was a real need for a site that looked at all kinds of female gamers. Determined to fill that need, we launched WomenGamers.Com in July of 1999.
I think it’s amazing that you have partnered up with schools to offer scholarships to women that want to study Game design and programming. How did you create the scholarships with DigiPen and Guildhall?
If we want more games to take the female market into account, we need to get more women working in the industry that can help bring new ideas and perspectives to the companies making these games. Being active in helping budding female developers learn more about their options and giving them opportunities is imperative to achieving this goal.
How did we do it? We asked. And of the schools we approached, two were really serious and dedicated to bring more women into their programs: DigiPen and the Guildhall at SMU.
What are the requirements to apply for the scholarship?
The DigiPen Institute of Technology Women’s Scholarship has the following requirements:
1. Must be female.
2. All applicants must meet the standard admission requirements for the program they are applying for at DigiPen Institute of Technology.
3. Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater in your most recent educational history.
4. Must be a student entering any of DigiPen Institute of Technology’s full time degree programs.
5. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
6. Must be a new incoming student for the Fall 2007-08 academic year
We are not accepting submissions for the Women Gamers’ Scholarship at the Guildhall at SMU at this time.
I noticed that the Guildhall scholarship was also given away last year. Do you keep in touch with the winners of the contest? And if so, how have they described their experience at the college?
I have not contacted them in a while so I can’t comment on that. Thanks for reminding me though. I should drop them a note.
What issues do you think women gamers are still facing?
We’ve come a long way in the past seven years, but there is still progress to be made. Women are still vastly underrepresented in the gaming industry and we are still fighting to make video gaming a socially acceptable activity for females, especially grown women.
Having said that, we’ve seen quit a bit of improvement and are confident that the trend towards a more inclusive attitude will only continue.
Thank you for the interview! Go to WomenGamers.com to get more information about their National Computer Camp scholarship. It’s great to see sites like WomenGamers.com not only being a pressence for women gamers, but also doing things to help women get into the industry. I only hope that GamingAngels.com can one day help the community too!