In Indonesia, a bright future ahead for female gamers
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Only 30% of Indonesians working in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field are female, but a leading app developer says the “future is bright” for women in the gaming industry.
Speaking to Rappler at the world’s largest mobile app summit, GMASA on January 26, Shieny Aprilia says what started as as hobby has led to an almost decade-long career as the co-founder of Indonesia’s own Agate Studio, a video game development company.
“I’m lucky that I believed I could turn my hobby into a profession,” she says, “some women wouldn’t consider game development as a job possibility based on their gender alone.”
“However, most of the female game developers I know view our gender as an advantage due to its uniqueness. When you have more diversity, that’s nothing but a positive in the work place... and I am slowly seeing more women pop up.”
The statistics support Aprilia’s view that more Indonesian women are pursuing gaming and other STEM-based careers. While less than 1/3 of Indonesia’s STEM workers are female, this is higher than the South East Asian average of 23%, according to research by Unesco Institute of Statistics.
This ranking places Indonesia ahead of nearby nations like Singapore, Laos and Cambodia in the ratio of women to men in the STEM workplace.
This already above-average percentage appears set to grow higher with the introduction of gender-specific education programs.
Sachin Gopalan, President Director and CEO of Chairos International Ventures – a start up venture incubator – says his company is planning on running two programs that will commence in April of this year.
Coding for Girls and Coding for Women classes will be held in 20 Indonesian cities, focusing on topics such as understanding how the industry works, how to code, and other skills such as commercializing a product and liaising with other companies.
Gopalan says he hopes the classes will inspire an increase in the amount of females working in the industry, especially considering the country’s prolific technology use.
“Indonesia has this thing of being very consumptive, not productive. So [we hope] to change that mindset through education and training.”
He says it is especially important females become involved as they “bring a different skill set” to men.
“If the majority of users are women, we need to capture their thinking process… women can bring skills to apps that will make them more complete, and easier to use.”
Aprilia agrees, saying “when females take on leadership roes, we tend to be more sensitive, and we tend to be more empathetic to the team.”
“It is these attributes that we need more and more of in the gaming industry.” – Rappler.com