Back in 2009, the Artsy Games Incubator ran a program in Toronto designed to get artists who love games making games. It produced a pile of fun, little addictive games. Some of them are delightful throwbacks to the 16-bit era, others more closely resemble the confections you'd find on Newgrounds, while others just defy description - which I guess is to be expected with names like Baby Runs This Mofo (in which you play a baby trying to get cuddles and hugs).
Now, the people behind that project are back with the Difference Engine Initiative, which intends to encourage diversity among game developers by targeting groups that are often under-represented in the industry. This round, named after the original programmer herself, Ada Lovelace, is aimed at women (so take note, all our female readers) and aims to provide a mentorship-style program, providing participants with access to the tools they need and people who can help them advance their skills. The deadline for the next session is pretty close - July 31st - but there will be another round later in the year. Further, a great interview with Initiative co-founder Mare Sheppard in the Torontoist makes it clear that women are one of many groups they would like to encourage to make waves in the gaming industry. From the interview:
"What about age? What about race? What about all these other groups that you don't see in game development?" asks Sheppard. "More diversity means better games, a better environment for game developers and game designers, and ultimately leads to the viewpoints of more people being represented in games and more games being made for different kinds of people. I think it'll make our industry a lot cooler."
Ladies out there interested in applying (you'll want to be within easy travelling distance of Toronto) can do so here.