The number of women working in any role in esports or playing esports is estimated to be about 5 percent. That’s only 1 in 20. While the presence of women is heating up in gaming society, research shows that gaming is a $175B industry that they aren’t inclusively-positioned to get a piece of.
African Americans between the ages of 13 and 24 make up 67% – 74% of recreational gaming, yet they only make up about 3% in actual esports leagues.
Keshia Walker sought to change that in May of 2020 when she became the first Black woman to enter the collegiate eSports arena after creating the Black Collegiate Gaming Association.
She’s recently raised the bar by announcing the start of the association’s 2021 programming, which already kicked off with one dynamic event, with another groundbreaking concept to follow.
Rounding out Black History Month, Black College Con was held on Feb. 27 and 28. The event brought together Black college students, HBCUs, gamers, eSports fanatics and corporations to talk about the industry and explore career opportunities.
“This was the first time that events like this have been held in the gaming industry,” said Walker, founder and chairwoman of BCGA. “Students of color, for the first time, had the opportunity to see and network with successful leaders in the industry and participate in fun gaming competitions for scholarships and prizes. They also learned about a variety of career opportunities that can change the trajectories of their lives.”
High-profile tech and gaming companies like PlayStation, GameStop, Xbox Game Studios, NASCAR signed on to participate and engage with students from more than 20 HBCUs, including Florida A&M, Jackson State University, and Agnes Scott College. The event was broadcasted live on Twitter.
Riding the success of Black College Con, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Black Collegiate Gaming Association announced its inaugural “Women Got Game Summit.”
Held March 20 and 21 and hosted on Twitch, the summit celebrates the diversity of women in eSports and gaming and connects collegiate women of color across the country with corporate partners and leaders in the gaming/esports industry, offering opportunities for internships and jobs.
The weekend event, also virtual, will begin with “Who Runs The World,” a conversation featuring successful women of all hues and backgrounds in the gaming industry. Students will have direct contact with tech leaders to learn about potential internship and career opportunities through curated speed talks and meet-ups with companies, including corporate sponsors McDonald’s, Intel, HyperX Gaming and Hitmarker.
“African Americans and women of color are the most overlooked audiences in esports, gaming, and the overall tech industry; yet that is where the greatest opportunities lie,” Walker told The Shadow League.
“It is time to ascend from just consumers to being contributors and creators. BCGA is here to provide exposure and pathways to these promising fields. Our goal is to aid in creating future groundbreakers and trailblazers. They will be the next set of history makers.”
Attendees will have direct contact with women industry leaders to learn about potential internship and career opportunities through curated speed talks and meet-ups with companies, including corporate sponsors McDonald’s, Intel, HyperX Gaming and Hitmarker.
These two one-of-a-kind events were created to expose both often overlooked minority groups to the world of gaming and eSports.
Walker is the driving force behind these events and is putting her years of experience as a woman in eSports to influential use. The Florida A&M graduate was the first Black woman to enter the male-dominated field of collegiate gaming and esports. She continues to blaze trails as the first Black woman to create a collegiate gaming association.