Women in VR/ AR

August 26, 2016

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About Women in VR/ AR

As part of VRLA, we attended a panel on Women in VR/AR. This talk discussed gender equality in the tech industry and how emerging technologies can help achieve this. A growing community, including organizations such as Women in VR, is being established for women active in the field. This is a topic that is important to Kilograph, being one of the few woman-led visualization agencies.

Our studio was founded by a woman entrepreneur. Keely Colcleugh is head of the studio and leads our team of artists, VR engineers, and designers. She founded Kilograph in 2009, after working extensively in the Architecture and Architectural Visualization fields.

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The CG production field, including the architectural visualization industry, does have a gender gap, and we feel that this inequality is an important one that we hope to lead in changing. We are excited to see that women are joining the industry at higher rates in a field mostly represented by men.

Two women leaders in the VR field, Jenn Duong from 1215 Creative and Julie Young from Emblematic Group, led an engaging and inspiring discussion on this topic, discussing important questions that are particularly relevant to us at Kilograph.

Jenn and Julie created SH//FT, a new nonprofit that focuses on bringing more women in AR/VR and the tech industry in general. They talked about the challenges of women in a field that is largely occupied by men and in which women are sometimes seen as having less potential due to longstanding misconceptions.

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It was mentioned however that many men were particularly encouraging in the VR/AR industry, and that several of them were also promoting the cause to give more power to women. This illustrates that it isn’t, and should not be conceived to be, a “us-versus-them” issue but rather an opportunity for everyone to come together to promote gender equality, and racial equality for that matter, in the architectural visualization industry.

The presenters then overviewed some alarming statistics on the significant difference between the amount of women and men in the entertainment and tech industries, even in positions such as writers or directors in entertainment.

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We find it encouraging to think that the new fields of  VR and AR technologies have the potential to change the status quo, and we join Jenn and Julie in their message to tech companies out there.

Here are a few suggested actions that you and your company can undertake to help women in the industry and in business in general.

1.   Actively recruit women

The first logical and essential action to undertake as a company is to make an effort to seriously hire women and minorities in general. Kilograph is an equal-opportunity employer and we are always delighted when women apply to join our team!

2.   Integrate it in your company culture 

In order for things to change, it is a lot more powerful to make a statement. Not only we should be recruiting women, but vocalizing it and making it part of the company culture can make a difference. There are several communities and events in which you and your company can get involved.

3.   Beware old mindsets  

Something important to keep in mind is that we should all be conscious of the tendency to think that women are the less technical ones. Very often people will have the habit to turn to a man to resolve a technical problem, which directly undermines women and opportunities for them to show their skills.

4.   Consider it an employer’s responsibility

Company leaders should clearly have in mind that they are the ones who have the power to help change the status quo. They should view it as their responsibility to seek women recruits and empower them in their company structure.

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Like Jenn and Julie, we hope to see an improvement in the industry and we enjoyed to see the engagement of an active community around this cause. Kilograph was glad to be part of this and we’re excited about the future of the industry.

Learn more about Kilograph: kilograph.net/about