But, according to Laila Shabir, gaming is not, and should not be, just for boys.
“I really enjoyed sneaking out of my house with my sister and going to the arcade. Playing ‘Tekken,’ ‘Street Fighter,’” she said, recalling her earliest experiences with video games.
“The list of things that I couldn’t do, or shouldn’t do, was much longer than the things that I was allowed to do,” she told Fox News. “So there was a lot of conflict inside me, because at home my parents were constantly telling me that I should dream big, and shoot for the stars. And they put all these incredible role models in front of me like Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto and I was supposed to be like them. But the minute I stepped out of my home, I was told the exact opposite. That I was dreaming too big, that if I wouldn’t stop looking at the sky I would stumble and fall on my face.
Thanks to encouragement from her parents, Shabir would eventually move to America and attend college at M.I.T. where she met her husband and her interest in video games would be piqued yet again. In fact, it was her husband who showed her the true power of video games as a medium to affect social change.
“It’s like teaching someone how to paint,” Shabir said. “You know once you teach them how to paint they can express themselves through that medium. That’s exactly what we’re doing at camp.”
According to the camp’s website, Girls Make Games is, “a series of international summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to inspire the next generation of designers, creators, and engineers. The GMG Fellowship Program provides participants an insider’s view of the industry, an opportunity to teach game development by mentoring kids, and access to unique networking and coaching opportunities.”