How Riot Games is training 60 girls to be game developers with Girls Who Code

About 45% of video game players in the U.S. are women, but only about 30% of game developers identify as female. This is why League of Legends maker Riot Games and Girls Who Code have teamed up to try to drive toward gender balance in the industry.

And that’s why Riot Games — whose titles are among the most-played in the world — is training more than 60 girls in online-only programs this summer in a program that teaches them to code, make games, and express their activist spirit. The company sees training a pipeline of girls as important in the game industry, where sexism issues — including some at Riot itself — have been in the news.

Girls Who Code is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. The organization has reached more than 300,000 girls in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and India. About 50% of girls served are Black, Latinx, or from low-income backgrounds.

“When we transformed our signature Summer Immersion Program into an entirely virtual experience in 2020, we knew we would have to step up our efforts to make our students feel welcome and made it our highest priority to serve the most vulnerable girls,” said Tarika Barrett, the CEO of Girls Who Code, in an email to GamesBeat. “We’re thrilled to report that it worked, and in 2021 we served over 5,000 students, half of them Black, Latinx, and low-income, around the world. Throughout this experience, Riot Games was a tremendous partner — adapting the program to a virtual classroom, making our students feel at home, and connecting them with diverse mentors. Students in the Riot classroom can really envision themselves as future women in gaming tech by the end of the program, which is a win for our girls, our organization, and the gaming community.”

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