Girls Make Games: An Indie Studio’s Campaign to Diversify the World of Video Games through Summer Camps for Girls

Share Article

Women make up over 47% of gaming population, but less than 12% of the industry; How do we correct this imbalance? LearnDistrict has some ideas.

Girls Make Games, Summer Camps, Video Games

Girls Make Games

It’s important that we introduce young girls to the variety of opportunities within the world of video games - level design, art direction, narrative/writing, the list goes on. There’s so much more to game dev than just programming.

LearnDistrict is an indie games studio on a mission to address the gender gap in the games industry through game dev summer camps and workshops called Girls Make Games. Founder Laila Shabir is an MIT alum and a game developer passionate about educating and recruiting girls to the growing world of video games and technology.

So why does it matter if there aren’t enough women in games? Several reasons: Gaming is one of the fastest growing industries, worldwide. In 2013, a CNN Report listed Game Designer as one of the hottest and fastest growing jobs for the next decade. Most recently, the Global Games Market Report predicted that by 2017 the worldwide games industry revenue would be upwards of $100 billion.

Girls Make Games is an initiative led by LearnDistrict’s CEO, Laila Shabir. “I didn’t realize how severe the problem was until I started recruiting for LearnDistrict,” she recounts. “Our first job posting for games engineer resulted in over 30 applications, all men. I shrugged it off thinking maybe girls don’t like making games because they don’t like playing them as much. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

After weeks of deliberate research and discussions with women in games, Laila and her team crafted a well designed curriculum that introduces girls to game design, art, sound, and development, coupled with field trips to game studios and guest lectures. “It’s important that we introduce young girls to the variety of opportunities within the world of video games - level design, art direction, narrative/writing, the list goes on. There’s so much more to game dev than just programming.”

LearnDistrict is proud to announce the first session of Girls Make Games (GMG) to be held June 16-July 13, at the Computer History Museum, in Mountain View, CA.

Camp Overview

  • Eligibility: Middle - High school girls
  • Dates: 3 weeks. June 16-20, 23-27, July 7-11.
  • Demo Day: Sunday, July 13th.
  • Venue: Computer History Museum, Mountain View
  • Partners/Supporters: Double Fine Studios, Google Play, MIT, Roominate, BraveWave


  • Game industry artists will create custom art/music for students' games.
  • Microsoft Silicon Valley will create a mini documentary on the camp.
  • Google Play will feature the final games on it's store page.
  • Final projects will be judged by a panel of top industry professionals including:

-- Tim Schafer, Founder, Double Fine Productions
-- Tracy Fullerton, Chair, Interactive Media & Games Division, USC
-- Kellee Santiago, Head of Developer Relations, OUYA
-- Shazia Makhdumi, Head of Strategic Edu & Kids Partnerships, Google Play

  • LearnDistrict will develop the winning prototype into a full retail title for the team.

Girls Make Games is more than just camps and workshops. It’s a developer’s campaign to inspire the next generation of gamers and creators.

To Laila the reasons are clear: “With women making up almost half of gaming population, but with dismal job statistics like 12%, they're clearly an underrepresented voice in the industry. More female devs will not only lead to diversity in the games that get created, but also help address the hostility women face in the culture and environment - the status quo is unacceptable.”

Upcoming locations in 2014: Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, Boston, MA, Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Washington DC, London, UK, Copenhagen, Denmark, Dubai, UAE, and Melbourne, Australia.

If you are interested learning more/having a workshop hosted in your city, visit Girls Make Games.

About LearnDistrict:
LearnDistrict is an independent game studio focused on developing video games that teach. The studio’s first title, Penguemic: Word Domination, teaches SAT/GRE vocabulary, and is scheduled for release Fall 2014. Learn more about the studio here.

About Girls Make Games and LearnDistrict:

  • Girls Make Games is a series of summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to inspire girls to explore the world of video game design and development.
  • Summer camps + workshops launching in cities across the US, Europe, Australia and Middle East
  • Inaugural Camp: Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA. June 16 - July 13.
  • Founder: Laila Shabir, CEO, age 27.

Company: LearnDistrict, Inc.
Founded 2013
HQ: San Jose, CA

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laila Shabir
since: 04/2014
Follow >
Girls Make Games
since: 04/2014
Like >

Visit website