Here are five, of many, women in gaming we'd like to recognize for #InternationalWomensDay

Here are just five of our picks - who would you like to see recognized?

Today, if you haven't noticed from the Google doodle or social media trending hashtags section, it is International Women's Day!

In this article, we're going to highlight five female game developers and personalities as a part the International Women's Day's #pledgeforparity, an effort to increase visibility and inclusivity. Of course, this short list barely scratches the surface of all the fantastic talent in this industry, so shout out in the comments if there is someone you'd like to recognize! 

If you'd like to learn more about International Women's Day and the #PledgeForParity, check out the official IWD website. For the sake of visibility, we're opting to discuss women who don't often make the headlines.

Kellee Santiago

Co-founder and former president of Thatgamecompany

Image: FlowJustFlow

Best known for the delightful and innovative games Journey, Flower, and Flow, Kellee Santiago has pioneered titles that specifically look to broaden the scope of what games are capable of. While some creative breakthroughs in games occur in visual fidelity or technical mastery, Santiago's work with Thatgamecompany has prioritized intimate, emotional responses through rich atmosphere. After Thatgamecompany, Santiago occupied a lead role as OUYA's Head of Developer Relations up until the company's eventual sale to Razer in 2015. After that, she joined Google's Play Games service as Partner Development Manager.

Kellee Santiago has also been a long-time partner of the Indie Fund, a TED Fellow, and has been named one of the 100 most influential women in technology by Fast Company.

Anna Kipnis

Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions

Image: Double Fine Adventure

We rarely get to hear about Senior Programmers at well-known studios, let alone women who occupy the role - so we're happy to have Anna Kipnis on our list. Known for her work on the cult classics Broken Age, The Cave, Costume Quest, Brutal Legend, and Psychonauts, Kipnis has had an impressive 13 years with Double Fine. She's also known for her programmatic work on Psychonauts' Milk Man Boyd's dialog system

Anna Kipnis is now working on Adult Swim & Double Fine's totally strange (and very Double Fine-y) Headlander, set for a 2016 release. 

Alyssa Finley

Director of Production at Telltale Games

Image: LinkedIn

Alyssa Finley has one hell of a track record in the games industry doing the not-so-glamorous-but-super-necessary job of managing game production. Starting early in her career as a Technical Director at LEGO, she's been Project Lead at Irrational Games, Executive Producer and VP or Product Development at 2K Marin, before becoming Executive Producer and, currently, Director of Production at Telltale.

She's worked on shipping games like Telltale's Game of Thrones and Minecraft: Story Mode, 2K's XCOM: Declassified, Irrational's BioShock, and more. Alyssa Finley is living proof that there is absolutely room in gaming for women in high-level leadership positions.

Eefje Depoortere

eSports Host for Riot Game's League of Legends

Image: Redbull

Recently named as one of Forbes' 2016 30 Under 30 for gaming, Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere is a host of the European League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). While she holds two masters degrees in both History and Journalism, Depoortere actually got her start in eSports as a professional Unreal Tournament '99 player for the Belgian national team before moving on to becoming a personality in gaming communities as the Editor-In-Chief and host of SK Gaming YouTube channel. 

As a true new-media personality, she is primarily known for appearances on YouTube, where she worked on the Summoner Recap and Whose League is it Anyways, and Twitch streaming, where she now hosts the LCS.

Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn

eSports pro player for Starcraft 2

Image: Redbull

While Scarlett has been mostly out of the Starcraft 2 limelight since 2015, she is still an inspiring figure for women in eSports. Scarlett holds the title as the second highest-earning female competitor in eSports ($116k in winnings) and remains a top-tier foreigner in the game. (Foreigners in Starcraft 2 are considered to be any non-Korean competitors). She's defeated some of the most well-known names in the game and is the only woman to win a professional Starcraft 2 match on Korean television. Scarlett has a long list of wins and credentials to her name as one of the few professional female eSports players on the scene.

Last we've heard from Scarlett, she had collaborated with fellow pro-player Huk to show off Starcraft 2's new Archon Mode and has been considering a transition from Starcraft 2 to DotA 2.

Who did we leave out?

Tell us in the comments!


Published Mar. 8th 2016
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    There is of course Bonnie Ross over at 343i. While her impact isn't massive on the overall industry (yet), she is the the head of a well known and important studio for Microsoft, you know... she only oversees the entire Halo franchise.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    "Who did we leave out?"

    Uh, dozens of prominent Japanese women developers that pretty much shaped the industry in its first 15 years.

    I guess somehow these women who have had minimal impact on the industry are more important than the actual developers, eh?
  • Angelina Bonilla
    Featured Correspondent
    You could always do a follow up article listing these important women that you mentioned.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    You got Eefje Depoortere in there but no mention of Sheever :'(
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Well, feel free to tell us about her, too :)
  • Angelina Bonilla
    Featured Correspondent
    Excellent feature Jay, I hope this becomes a tradition on the site for years to come!
  • Kevin Cobban
    Featured Contributor
    Great way to celebrate International Women's Day
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Thanks, Kevin!

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