Rotem Ben-David (right) and Michal Issachary.

Women in Gaming
“Women work harder than their male counterparts to earn senior positions”

Despite the increase in the number of female gamers, the number of those who design games is still relatively low. Calcalist spoke with several Israeli women who are changing the future of gaming, with Part 2 featuring Rotem Ben-David and Michal Issachary of CrazyLabs

Over the years, the gaming industry has mainly appealed to men. Aside from a few games, like “Sims,” most games starred strong male characters who fought battles, and were mainly marketed to men. As the industry developed, it began to target the female population as well. According to research conducted by Newzoo, today nearly 46% of all gamers are women.
Calcalist spoke with some of the leading women who are paving the way in the Israeli gaming industry, and changing its future, with Part 2 featuring Rotem Ben-David and Michal Issachary of CrazyLabs. You can read Part 1 with Shay Segel here.

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מימין: רתם בן דוד ומיכל יששכרי
מימין: רתם בן דוד ומיכל יששכרי
Rotem Ben-David (right) and Michal Issachary.
(Crazy Labs)
Rotem Ben-David, Game Data Analyst; Michal Issachary, VP of LiveOps at CrazyLabs
Issachary: “I joined the gaming industry seven years ago, and was pleased to discover that it attracts many talented people who are a real pleasure to work with. I think the reason why professional women and men are attracted to industries like gaming stems from the fact that it is competitive, challenging, and fascinating. Gaming also includes the tech, data, and business sides, and it’s all wrapped up in this unfathomable level of creativity. That’s why it’s becoming a key sector, rich in ideas.”
Ben-David: “In my current position, I analyze how people play our games to better understand gamer-behavior, and support our product development team so that we can make better business decisions based on solid data. I entered this industry a year ago, and didn’t have a lot of experience beforehand but a desire and will to learn. Gladly, my team welcomed me with open arms, and everyday is filled with productivity and professional development.”
Do you think that women in the gaming industry encounter different challenges compared to women in other high tech sectors in Israel? If so, how can society change that?
Issachary: “Women face unique challenges during the course of their career, starting from choosing which subjects to focus on in high school, through choosing which unit to serve in the military, which college degree to pursue, and finding the right workplace environment, until they earn a spot at the decision-making table. I don’t think that women face different challenges in the game industry compared to other sectors in Israeli high tech. However, I think that since this industry is so competitive, it’s ripe grounds for ongoing struggles that lead women to work harder than their male counterparts to earn senior positions, even though they’re just as talented and their achievements are on par with that of their male peers.”
Ben-David: “I don’t know what the rest of the high tech industry is like, but at least at CrazyLabs I feel that there’s no real difference between genders. A female manager leads my team, and everyday I speak with several others like her (in senior management positions as well as team leaders). Overall, there’s awareness of having equal female representation, and the company embraces equality.”
Do you think there’s a difference between a man’s and woman’s approach when it comes to game design?
Issachary: “The gaming industry attracts talented people regardless of gender. A man and a woman could both serve in the same position and be successful, even in the casual gaming sector, where there are more female gamers than males. Although there are differences between male and female management (whether that is in terms of managing results or building and managing an actual team), the industry benefits from having a combination of both types of management, and embraces equality.”
“In order to increase the number of women who hold influential positions, we need to operate in two directions: by increasing women’s pursuit of STEM tracks, such as computer science and business, from a young age. Women can and must know how to talk about money, do business, become entrepreneurs, and hold significant leadership positions in the industry. The more we equip women with the right tools, and the earlier we do so, the easier it will be for them to go far. Second of all, women can and should help other women, and that’s why it’s crucial to raise awareness on this issue. What might seem trivial or banal to some, might be fascinating to others. I suggest women share their knowledge with others through talks or courses. Don’t give up, other women will thank you later.”
Ben-David: “In my current position, there isn’t really much of a difference between male and female approaches in gaming. My position entails looking at data, and trying to analyze and explain it without being swayed by either side. When examining the facts, our objectivity is what shines here. That’s why analyses must be as neutral as possible, even with our mobile games (where it’s clear there are more female than male players). That’s also why I love this field so much: data doesn’t lie, and the numbers are the proof on paper that enables us to see the bigger picture, and allow us to verify, as much as possible, the business decisions we make.”