Games to boost diversity

Games can be used to teach, inform, entertain and fascinate, but they can also be used to help change attitudes and biases. The road to equality in the workforce has been a long, slow one and a dream we are still far from accomplishing. Molly Carnes, co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at the University of Wisconsin, is hoping to see more women, minorities and people with disabilities working in science and engineering. She has been awarded a $2 million grant to develop video games to help neutralise biases towards minority groups, which sees them discriminated from scientific jobs.

A diverse workforce is seen by Carnes as a competitive advantage and a necessary step for the advancement of science. The Director of the National Institute of Health said that “Such diversity generates new perspectives, approaches and answers to challenging problems. We’re optimistic that these awards will help identify new methods for addressing the compelling need to increase the number of people from underrepresented groups who pursue careers in the biomedical, behavioural, clinical and social sciences.”

The project aims to start small, within the faculty of the University of Wisconsin but if the experiment in ‘transformational approaches’ and neutralising unintentional biases is successful it could very well find itself being implemented in other industries. The game will place faculty into situations where they can recognise the self-defeating nature of their biases and how a lack of diversity is ultimately harmful for their workplace.

Molly Carnes work sounds fascinating and is yet another great example of how games can be used for good!

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