Women in Games boss says industry "going backwards" after GDC allegations

Women in Games boss says industry "going backwards" after GDC allegations

The CEO of Women in Games, Marie-Claire Isaaman, has said that the industry is "going backwards" in the wake of assaults and harassment that allegedly took place at the 2023 Game Developers Conference (GDC).

In a statement on the organisation's website, the exec wrote that for all the progress that has been made in terms of gender equality, much still needs to be done to further level the playing field. Isaaman cited the recent reports about the harassment and criminal activity experienced by women at the San Francisco trade show this year, including drinks being spiked, being "belittled and undermined" as well as "hit on relentlessly".

The exec has issued an invitation for the organisers of GDC – as well as other industry events – to work with Women in Games to make events safe for everyone.

"We are going backwards as an industry. None of this is okay, none of this should be happening! If you ever hear anyone questioning whether Women in Games is relevant today – this is it," Isaaman wrote.

"When the day comes that a woman at a global games conference doesn’t have to wonder whether she will be safe when she has a business meeting, alone, with a man – that’s when our work will be done.

"Until then, we must pull together and fight to put an end to this type of behaviour being somehow acceptable. Harassment, abuse and assault of any kind online and in person must be called out! And we urge the organisers of GDC – and all other industry expos and conferences – to work with Women in Games so that we can help them make these events safe spaces for all."

In the wake of allegations shared on social media, the organisers of GDC said that the behaviour was "outrageous and unacceptable".

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.