Diversity and Inclusion in the gambling industry has been a raging topic in recent years with formidable individuals and organisations like All-In-Diversity doing incredibly well to advance it with their numerous projects. Though it can still be deemed as a work in progress, but the struggle is really paying off, as there are now numerous female executives at the top of the chain, in leading companies in the global gambling Industry.
It is noteworthy that majority of the Organisations recognised globally for promoting safer gambling and working to minimise gambling harm; from GeoComply, GamCare, GamStop to RGC etc. are either founded or being Chief executed by women, so it goes without saying that more inclusion of women in the industry brings about greater benefits and more value creation.
At the just concluded ICE London 2022, I met a lot of awesome women changing the narrative and breaking biases in different areas in the industry. Women like Ewa Bankun (she is like a force, everywhere you look, she is there anchoring, conducting, moderating…all with a smile on her face), Christina Thakor Rankin; supportive, engaging and encouraging; Jeanette Lewis from Jamaica; warm and supportive and ready with information and contacts; Anna Hemings, insightful and ready with information and a host of other amazing women.
These women were all ready to practice what is being preached and one will never know that meeting most of them was a first time thing, just by listening in on the conversations.
Having said all that, at the ICE London 2022, it was still quite apparent that the global industry is still mostly male and white. The focus have all been on combating the issue of gender inclusion that the race/ethnic diversity part, seems not to be getting as much attention.
The lack of race/ethnic diversity in the global scheme of things, is concerning; even awards and recognition for women in the global industry is predominantly white, with often one name (very deserving though), as the face of all black race.
In Africa, especially West Africa, gender inclusion in the gaming space is also work in progress, however there are quite a few women making their mark in different areas in the gaming industry and with the agenda gathering momentum, more capable women will become part of the industry in no distant time and those women deserve to be included. Impact is impact, whether it’s being made in Africa, Europe, United States, Asia or LatAm. When it says Global, the line-up should be more diverse and inclusive.
There is need for practical changes, so that ALL people get a fair go. More access, opportunities, partnerships etc. will go a long way to ensure that when the fight is fully won, it will be an encompassing victory.
For the African women already part of, or aspiring to be part of the gaming industry; stand up and show what you have. Rise up and EMPOWER yourself, the industry is experiencing massive growth, so seize the moment. Don’t sit back and rely on feminism and others’ fight for gender and racial inclusion; create a niche, own it and your relevance will be established.
We should not be afraid to take the road less travelled because diversity and inclusion in all its ramification, is really not a fight you sit back to claim victory; you get up and you break barriers, and while you are at it, get yourself a folding chair, where no seat is provided.