Bonnie Ross is the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios and is the head of 343 industries which is the studio that manages the Halo video game franchise. Unfortunately it’s not common to have women at such a high ranking in the video gaming industry. With today’s youth and the progression of women’s influence on the matter, it has caused the tables to slowly turn for the better.
Although the gender gap has effected women for many decades, in previous years up until now the space between men and women in the work force has started to progressively close. It is not a huge dramatic change, however there is progress and it does show. Bonnie Ross’s wants to influence and openly discuss women and young girls in the technical area, but also diversity within the gaming industry.
Bonnie Ross spoke her thoughts on the difficulty of recruiting women in games development on a 60 minute interview. She explains the reason as to why there is a decline in interest from women in the STEM area and much more. She says they start to see a decline in the STEM area when children enter middle school and continues to decrease once they enter into high school. Statistically 91% of girls describe themselves as being creative and lean more towards creative criteria not knowing game development or technology can be a creative field to pursue.
Ross believes if computer science and technology was offered as part of a required curriculum then there would be a much higher number of women in the STEM industry. If you start the children off young and teach them that they can do many things within a technical field, then more young girls would want to continue to pursuit it.
Ross also stated that women are so in demand at tech companies, the market is pretty competitive at recruiting them. She began to say women who intern at Microsoft are offered full positions, but turn them down because they already have offers from about 5-7 other technical companies.
Bonnie also says her Halo team is diverse and everyone enjoys being a part of such a team. Once you have a diverse team it creates a ripple effect of diversity and it’s an important dynamic to have. She believes a diverse team creates such a great storyline and output along with diverse thinking and innovation.