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International Women’s Day

Posted by THEPOGG on Mar 15, 2019

Today is International Women’s Day, a day set aside by the UN to promote gender equality around the world every year. The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” .

Organisers of the event are looking for innovative ways to progress gender equality and female empowerment across the globe, with a particular focus on “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.”

The UN claims that “based on current trajectories” a Planet 50/50 gender balance will not be achieved by 2030 and that if this is our collective goal we need to help alter those trajectories through innovation and creative thinking.

The key to this for the UN is to engage women and girls more in innovative fields of work and study, so that women and girls are themselves in positions where they can help alter their own trajectories. To do this the UN wants to see an increase in the number of women and girls “in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design.” If this can be achieved then the UN believes that women will share control over the ways in which society shapes its future. That with a balance in these key areas, we will see a balance in many other areas of our society.

If women can share the reigns of future innovations, the UN hopes for “investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls.”

The official International Women’s Day website has adopted the slogan #BalanceforBetter as part of their ongoing campaign to create gender balance within society. They assert that #BalanceforBetter is not just a slogan they want to see bandied around social media today but one as part of a yearlong campaign that draws attention to an issue that is not about women, but business. “The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage …”

Where exactly does the future of gender balance fit within the gambling industry? Last year, during the lead up to the ICE conference in London, the UK media was spitting mad with the gambling industry’s unashamed objectification of women. The UKGC called for a ban on the scantily clad women, often used at the event to help promote new products. At the time, the then chief executive of the UKGC, Sarah Harrison stated that these hostesses were a “significant stain on the industry’s reputation.”

She went on to say that, “This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women,”

“Yet from walking around the exhibition you wouldn’t know this. Instead you saw men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits. I say bring this to an end now.”

Harrison is herself an example of a woman who has worked her way to the top and has gone on to command a position of huge importance within a sector that is traditionally male dominated. Yet her calls were clearly met by a few cotton ears, as she moved on to become the Director General for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, nothing moved on at 2018’s ICE.

During the conference last year, just a few weeks after the removal of “grid girls” in Formula 1 and “walk on girls” in darts, proceedings went ahead as usual. There were pole dancers and hostesses who were paid to look pretty and forced to put up with “guys who try and touch you when you’re getting your picture taken with them. You’ve just got to deal with it and say, ‘Get off me.’”< p>

Yet, this year, everything has gone quiet, with no scandal from the 2019 event making its way into the pages of UK newspapers. We can only hope that there was nothing to report and the criticism that the industry faced 12 months ago was enough to provoke some much-needed changes in this year’s event.

What’s more is that the UKGC didn’t make an appearance at this year’s conference. This is a huge surprise given the impact that Harrison’s speech had last year. It was a speech that many felt was unfair and that she was tarring the entire industry with a brush that should have been left for a few smaller groups based in Central and Eastern Europe. But that speech set out the Commission’s stance quite clearly, one that would have been strengthened through their appearance at the event.

Perhaps our focus has changed and this is no longer the country’s hot topic for discussion? Last year we were reaching the high point of the #MeToo movement, which placed female objectification at the forefront of the public’s consciousness. Now we are at the beginning of a media firestorm with the release of “Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me”, that draws our attention to the exploitation of children by powerful men.

I honestly believe that it is not the latter and that changes were made at this year’s ICE conference. No pictures of pole dancers or half naked hostesses have made their way online and I also see this reflected in some of the games that software developers have released over the last 12 months. Scanning through the big names: “Microgaming”, “Net Entertainment”, “Yggdrasil”, “Play ‘n Go” and few others and I am not seeing any games like “Twerk”, “Playboy” or “Soccer Babes” released within the last year.

Maybe things are changing. Maybe the gambling industry is waking up to the fact that it has a role to play in the public’s consciousness. Or maybe those in the know have realised that there is a huge market out there and that instead of objectifying women, operators, developers and advertisers should be appealing to them.

There is money to made and a relatively untapped market to exploit. Even if the gambling industry isn’t ready to cast aside its objectification and its exploitation of the female form then maybe those small pockets of resistance that are struggling to keep pace with a planet that continues to diversify will do so in the name of the almighty dollar.

We are already seeing casinos and games that are targeted at a female audience but honestly, we haven’t seen many that we would consider to very good. Giving women more opportunity within the industry would surely see this change. You saw what happened when the UKGC had a female CEO and you saw what happened when they didn’t.

All we know is that changes do appear to be happening within the industry but that it is far too early to know just how relevant they have been and will continue to be.

Slots Games with Strong Female Characters

To fit in with International Women’s Day we want to show off the 5 best games containing a strong female character or characters. We normally do a best of 10 list but this has already been a long article and we want to keep the list short but filled with absolutely quality games.

There are tonnes of games we could have chosen for this theme so rest assured that a shorter list should mean a better list.

Dragon’s Myth

Do we really need to write anything about Microgaming’s Dragon’s Myth other than mentioning its quite phenomenal score of 10 out of 10? When Dragon’s Myth was released all the way back in 2015 it became an instant slots classic for us at ThePogg and even now, 4 years on it passes the test of time. Your central character is a young girl who is capable of capturing the most terrifying of mythical creatures using nothing but her cunning and incredible bow and arrow skills. Taking inspiration from films like “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Brave” the game is set in a rugged, cold landscape that only dragons and their hunters can survive in. The game is jam-packed full of special features and looks absolutely fantastic.

Play the game here for free

Tomb Raider: Secrets of the Sword

This is our second game from Microgaming and our second game to receive the incredibly rare 10 out of 10 from us. Not much needs to be said about why Lara Croft needs to make an appearance on our list but it is perhaps worth mentioning that more recent incarnations of that character are much more relevant within a society that needs strong female heroes than the Angelina Jolie version of the Tomb Raider. The game itself looks great and has plenty of features that will keep you engaged throughout.

Play the game here for free

Lost Relics

If you’ve not had enough of strong female archaeologists then might I suggest taking a look at Net Entertainment’s Lost Relic. The game is, so far, the newest on our list, coming out last year and as you would expect from a new game it looks fantastic. The game has plenty of features for you as you take your intrepid explorer through ancient Aztec tombs where she encounters and dispatches undead monsters on her way to trying to uncover all that lost treasure.

Play the game here for free

Wolf Hunters

Yggdrasil’s Wolf Hunters is just one of countless numbers of incredible games that they released last year. This game is so complicated that when I initially reviewed it I don’t think I properly understood how the game worked. What I did know was that the Wolf Hunters looked incredible and was seriously good fun. It plays out like a computer game and you get to play one of the 2 Wolf Hunters, taking on werewolves as you battle for supremacy. This game balances out the genders with a male and a female hunter both waiting as you collect the relevant symbols that can bring them into play.

Play the game here for free

Zombies Gone Wild

If you need more evil creature hunting then look no further. Zombies Gone Wild is the most recent offering from PariPlay and sees 3 female zombie hunters try to re-address the balance after a zombie plague sweeps its way through humanity. They game looks great, has an extra-large grid for you to play on and it has a number of features that will keep you hitting that spin button. PariPlay don’t release a lot of games in a year but I suspect this may well turn out to be their best over the 12 months.

Play the game here for free

Conclusions

Whilst we are ending our list there I know there are countless games out there that would have fit this theme perfectly. We have tried a mixture of old and new games, all of which still cut the mustard today. We also wanted our female characters’ actions to be more integral to the game’s narrative than their appearance. Hence, there are no princesses, no fairy-tale characters waiting to be rescued by a handsome prince and no pretty faces with nothing to contribute beyond a pout or a sexy smile. All our characters are women of action and just as importantly, all the games they feature in are excellent.

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