Despite video games having long been perceived to be a male-dominated sector, there is significant evidence suggesting that this is starting to change. Social media giant Facebook, recently launched its "Women in Gaming" initiative, which allows women in the video gaming sector to connect, with the long-term goal of increasing the diversity within the gaming landscape. However, there are many female torch bearers who are already taking the genre by the scruff of the neck and creating a space for women in the future of the video gaming industry.
Women and the Casino
Photographer Courtney Aszatalos recently began shooting in casinos to observe the fascinating cross-section of women enjoying time with their friends, while playing their favourite casino games. The results from Aszatalos were not only stunning, but presented a fascinating social dynamic.
Women have long been champions of the casino but research recently shows a rapid shift from physical trips to the casino to mobile experiences, colliqually known as “live casino.” As a recent review of Spin Palace points out, online casino now offers a plethora of options to those wanting to play from the convenience of their own home. Live casino is just one of many features available to those wanting to take advantage of the offers and bonuses that online casino players enjoy.
There's been a fair bit of debate recently with regards to the best female video game character of all time. But in our eyes, Lara Croft is head and shoulders above the rest.
With an impressive 16 game back catalogue, including an online slots game where you can plunder ancient treasures and land sizeable jackpots, Lara Croft is living proof that, digital or otherwise, women can conquer the gaming industry with the right tools at their disposal.
It's also worth pointing out that the recent movie remake starring the radiant Alicia Vikander is well worth a watch and demonstrates that Lara can seamlessly hop between the big and small screen whenever she pleases.
Epic Games' flagship title Fortnite is undoubtedly the most popular video game on the planet (at least for now) and this is in part down, to the number of women currently playing the game. The game is particularly popular on the streaming platform Twitch, with gamers live streaming their experience so others can take part in the fun. A quick look around Twitch shows that the number of prominent female streamers is increasing by the day and this is certainly encouraging news moving forward.
"The balance is slowly being restored. All that's left for us to do now is take over. Watch this space"
This Is Just The Beginning
Whether it's online casino or female-fronted video games, women are starting to get noticed within the gaming industry and it's about time. For too long the gaming industry has been a testosterone-fuelled free-for-all, but with more and more women finally confidentiality entering the space, the balance is slowly being restored. All that's left for us to do now is take over. Watch this space.
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.