Virginia McDowell: Women still ‘tremendously underrepresented’ in gaming management

Virginia McDowell, a Non-Executive Director at Entain and a Board Member at Global Gaming Women, has stated that women are still “tremendously underrepresented” in the gaming industry at the management level.

Speaking during a recent appearance on the Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show, McDowell was asked by podcast host Martin Lycka if women are now able to earn more important roles in the gaming industry at a bigger scale now than in years past, or if the industry was still an “old man’s club”.  

McDowell noted that while the gaming industry has improved and become 50% female compared to the past when it was dominated by men, women are still being “tremendously underrepresented” at the management level.

She said: “It is still an ‘old man’s club’. However, let’s just talk about the perception of women in the gaming industry. We don’t have a problem with women in the gaming industry. The industry is actually 50% female, and this has been demonstrated in studies that the American Gaming Association and other organizations have done going back decades. The industry is generally 50% female.

“The problem is women are tremendously underrepresented in management and, the goal of Global Gaming Women, the issues that we face as an industry and what I have been trying to solve through Global Gaming Women and other organizations such as the All-In Diversity Index, is making sure that women have the opportunity to advance their careers within organizations.”

Global Gaming Women was established by the American Gaming Association (AGA) to create a network for female gaming professionals to learn and share ideas, establish connections, and create future women leaders in the industry.

In 2016, with the support of the AGA, Global Gaming Women was launched as an independent non-profit organization, providing women with educational opportunities so they can advance their careers within their organizations. At the same time, the non-profit also works with organizations to build internal company programs that help to achieve the same goal.

McDowell remarked: “At the point that we relaunched Global Gaming Women, there was some legalized form of gaming in 48 out of 50 states, and so that was a tremendous opportunity to bring essentially an underserved, underrepresented 50% of the workforce into the industry.”

The educational webinars and programs that Global Gaming Women provide are tiered up to its W Program, which is aimed at women who are Vice Presidents, and they teach leadership skills such as public speaking and gambling confrontation.

The non-profit also offers Lean-In groups to help women with their confidence and overcome imposter syndrome as they look to take that next step and apply for larger roles within their organizations. 

McDowell added that while there are organizations out there doing good work to help women progress their careers, it’s happening at a much slower pace than she would like it to.

She said: “It’s happening much slower than I would like, but I do believe that that ‘what gets measured gets managed’, and because of the All-In Diversity Index and other people that are looking at this progress in the industry of moving women into management roles, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but there is progress.”

During the podcast, McDowell also spoke to Lycka about the gaming industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coming back to work, the US regulatory model, Tennessee, mental health, and responsible gaming.

To watch the full interview, click here