The women of Atari are strong, smart, leaders in their fields, having won many software development awards and patents; some are game playing or e-Sports champions, winning competitions as far back as 1970s. This type of awesome should be praised and revered. These ladies are gaming gods.
How come we haven’t heard more about them?
Mysoginism, white washing, societal expectations, gender norms and other discrimination causes are at fault here which is a very hard truth to swallow. It’s hard for many to imagine that just because of gender their contributions were swept under the rug, accolades given instead to the male project managers or bosses. It’s even sadder to note this still happens in this day and age. Atari Women hopes to bring awareness to the great deeds of female programmers and contributors to the legacy of gaming. They can only do so with our sponsorship!
I stumbled upon this very laudable endeavor during ECCC 2019. According to GeekWire, this was the organization’s debut! The energy of the room was amazing, and the panel did an awesome job of communicating the value behind their mission to promote women in gaming, as well as minorities and the LGBTQIA community whose importance to the industry has been snubbed for decades. My husband wanted to meet the wonderful humans that built the future of his favorite hobby, gaming. I wanted to thank them for the Atari 2600 cartridges and heroes that shaped my desire to beat anyone who challenged me, pushing the red button and pushing/pulling on the joystick into victory lane.
Pernille Bjorn (University of Copenhagen) and Daniela Rosner (University of Washington), both professors and avid fans of the work, started AtariWomen to do this and so much more, starting by creating a website and collection of cartridges and coins to commemorate the brave ladies that navigated toxic and difficult environments to get published by the namesake company. They gathered stories, pictures and artifacts to document the vast legacy of the female experts that were overlooked back in their heyday. You’d be surprised to learn how many still remain to be found and recognized; records are fuzzy as to who worked where, on what, and when. It’s almost as if these women were invisible. 😭
As an engineer and videogame geek/nerd, I find the importance of highlighting the goal of this non-profit and the dire need for its success. I share this info in the hope that it reaches the next generation of women in gaming, the historians, cartographers, writers and coders that will impact others as these women impacted me. Let’s pay it forward. Visit their website and invite others to join in. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Who knows? Maybe you will find one of the missing in your own company or backyard!