The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 truly underscores the role we all have to play in the fight for equity, equality and diversity. It is not the responsibility of one specific group to open doors and be the catalyst; we all need to #ChooseToChallenge.
As an agency, we are privileged to partner and work with companies who are working hard to increase opportunities in their industries. Init Esports is on a mission to improve diversity in esports and promote opportunities in gaming for people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Sim racing is incredibly accessible – after all, many of us know how to drive a car – and combined with a low barrier for entry, it can be a way for rising stars to prove their skills without the associated costs that come with real-world racing. Importantly, it is not just about finding the next racer or rider; it can be just a welcoming environment where everyone can have fun.
Init’s flagship event, Race Me, featured six accomplished athletes, most of whom were new to gaming, competing in a sim race to raise money for charity and demonstrate that esports is for everyone. Among this skilled cohort was Paralympic gold medallist Oksana Masters, who raced with an adapted steering wheel. One of the reasons why she wanted to take part in the event was “it is amazing that inclusion and diversity, as a Paralympic athlete, is right here in Race Me. I’m driving with hand controls and it just shows that gaming is for everybody – for girls, for Paralympic athletes, adaptive athletes, anyone – and I really wanted people to realise that.”
As Communications Partner for Greenpower Education Trust, we have seen young people from a variety of backgrounds discover a love of STEM, and we have met with those it has inspired to pursue careers in the industry. From all-girls teams to intervention and youth clubs, the Greenpower grid features many children and teenagers who may not have made a connection to STEM had they not taken part in the Greenpower challenge. And there is nothing more infectious than their excitement and anticipation as they take to the grid to race the electric cars they have meticulously designed, built and tested.
Big or small, everyone has an opportunity to use their platform for positive change. It starts with days like International Women’s Day, which encourages us to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias, and take action. It is a philosophy that we can apply to all inequalities – both personally and professionally – to bring about an equal world.
We can all embrace the opportunity to challenge inequality, bias, and inequity, and lift ourselves and others to new levels where the playing field is level for everyone.
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