On any given day on the World of Women Discord server, there are discussions about board games, role-playing games, video games, cats, travel and conventions, baking, miniature painting, books, or potatoes (we all REALLY love potatoes). We also offer support to each other when we are sick or having a bad day. We celebrate new jobs, kids’ birthdays, graduations, and other milestones. We love to talk about games, but we also love to build friendships that extend beyond our mutual love of gaming.
World of Women was started by Barbara Allen in 2017. She had been observing her beloved hobby for years and frequently noticed that something was missing: while she knew that there were women out there who enjoyed playing games, she was not seeing them highly represented in gaming spaces. Many women, myself included, have had poor experiences when trying to get into the hobby: sexual harassment, not valued as a smart gamer, or flat out told we are not welcome. While steps have been made toward improvement, there is still work to be done.
Barbara decided to create a space just for women where they could talk about games and whatever else was on their minds. She wants women who are new to the hobby to have a welcoming space filled with other women who are eager to share their knowledge and love of gaming. She wants experienced gamers to have a haven filled with friends where they can talk about the latest releases and convention news. She wants women who create gaming content to have a support group and to act as role models for other women who are thinking about creating their own content. It’s a community of gamers, of professionals… of friends. When I asked Barbara about what she sees for World of Women in the future, she said:
My vision for World of Women is to have a place where women can meet and support one another no matter their differences. A place of positivity and friendship. The website is where I hope that women will, one day, want to take part and add their content so we can have a network for content created by women where we can follow all of their achievements. I also hope the website will have the ability to help those in need with a little financial support as well, but that is a bit further down the road still. (Barbara Allen, 2018)
Barb has brought on three women to help moderate the community with her: me, Carly Sargeant, and Gisela Garcia-Corrales. Together the four of us have been working on getting a Facebook group going for World of Women. The Facebook group differs from the Discord server in that anyone can join – it is not restricted to people who identify as women. Anyone who shares our philosophy that games are for everyone is welcome in our Facebook group. We recently started a fun series of weekly posts in the Facebook group, so come on over and join the fun!
I love catching up with everyone on the Discord server to find out how they’re doing and what they’ve been playing. I also love leading and participating in our new weekly topics in the Facebook group. I was able to meet up with Barbara and some members of World of Women at Origins and it was so much fun getting to hang out in person. I have even met people from World of Women who live just a couple hours from me and have now attended the game days I host at my house. There was also a World of Women meetup at Gen Con this year (though, sadly I was not there). It has been such a pleasure getting to know these women, talking to them about games, reading/viewing/listening to their gaming content, and seeing so many new friendships form. I look forward to meeting even more women as the group grows.