Women’s History Month: ESA Spotlights Women in the Video Game Industry

  • 03.08.2021
  • Industry Updates

To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Entertainment Software Association is honored to highlight extraordinary women from the past and present who’ve paved the way for women in the video game industry. From Grace Hopper, the Mother of Computing, to Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, the women below aren’t just changing the game for women–they’re changing the world.


Sarah Bond – Corporate Vice President of Gaming, Microsoft

“There were times when I was encouraged to blend in and conform – but I’ve learned that being different can be powerful. As we keep pushing for gender parity, particularly in the tech industry, embracing what makes people different will create a brighter future for all of us.”

Sarah Bond is the Corporate Vice President of Gaming Ecosystem at Microsoft, leading Microsoft’s business with game creators across all Microsoft software and services, including Xbox, Azure, and Microsoft 365. She was recently named one of Variety’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders shaping the global media industry.


Jade Raymond – Iconic Video Game Producer

“You won’t consider a job in the games industry unless you play games, generally, and more girls and young women are playing games, so that’s great, because there’s an opportunity for more of them to think about games development.”

Jade Raymond most recently served as Vice President at Google, where she led the Google Studios, Stadia teams creating exclusive content for the streaming service. She also held pivotal roles producing iconic video games for Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, where she led the creation of the first Assassin’s Creed games. Raymond sits on multiple Boards of Directors for industry groups and is viewed as a pioneer among women in the industry.


Kimberly Bryant – Founder, Black Girls Code

“…as a woman of color, a Black woman who has a degree in electrical engineering, is that I had to work really, really hard. In college I was in the top percent of my class, but engineering was foreign to me, computer science was foreign to me, and I didn’t have a community. I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have any of that. I had to learn it on my own. Everything was new, and I worked so hard to get that degree.”

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing girls of color to the field of technology and computer science. Black Girls CODE’s ultimate goal is to provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.


Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, “The Mother of Computing”

“Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers.



Carol Shaw, the first professional female video game designer and programmer

“When I was in junior high and high school, I was good at math. I entered a bunch of math contests and won awards. Of course, people would say, ‘Gee, you’re good at math — for a girl.’ That was kind of annoying. Why shouldn’t girls be good at math?”

Carol Shaw was one of the first female game designers and programmers in the video game industry. She is best known for creating the Atari 2600 vertically scrolling shooter River Raid for Activision.


Bonnie Ross, American video game developer and head of 343 Industries

“I don’t think I would still be at Microsoft or in technology if I hadn’t found gaming.”

Bonnie Ross is an American video game developer and Corporate Vice President at Xbox Game Studios. Ross established and is the head of 343 Industries, the subsidiary studio that manages the Halo video game franchise.



Jay-Ann Lopez, founder of the industry shaping collective Black Girl Gamers

“With the integration of technology into our everyday lives, the opportunities for accessibility increase.”

Jay-Ann Lopez understands that the global gaming industry is one dominated by white men. This is why she built Black Girl Gamers, an online community and safe space to allow black women who enjoy gaming to connect and enjoy the experience collectively. Lopez, 26, is based in London and launched BGG as a way to bridge the divide and bring black girl gamers together to share tips, connect and play against each other.


Ashly Burch, American voice actress, actress, singer and writer

“There’s the idea that gaming is a closed door and that men are holding access to who gets in or out, and you have to prove — if you’re female — that you’re a real gamer. I think the younger generation, they don’t care. They want more women playing and…they just want to play fun games.”

Ashly Burch (born June 19, 1990) is known for her roles as Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn, Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, Miss Pauling in Team Fortress 2, Chloe Price in Life Is Strange, Ray from Fortnite, and more. Her work in Life Is Strange and Horizon Zero Dawn won her the 2015 and 2017 Golden Joystick Awards for Best Performance.

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