The field of gaming is often treated by both those working in it and those who purchase its products as a distinctly male industry, where it is nigh-impossible for women to thrive. Women like Sadia Bashir, however, dispel this long-held notion.
When she was merely a child, Sadia used to go to the arcade with her brothers to play video games. Years went by and arcades vanished, but her love for video games continued to flourish. What started as a fun activity turned to a budding career. Her inner developer and artist was brought out as she dreamed of making video games one day.
Although women have become more visible in sports and other areas in Pakistan, video gaming is still overwhelmingly for the boys.
Sadia was not put off, however. She started not just playing video games, but developing them as well – from the age of 13. “My interest in computers began with video gaming, so I just continued to develop it,” she told BBC Urdu. At one point, she even persuaded her parents to change her school so she could study computing.
Deciding whether to continue her studies at university was also hard, as she knew her family might find it difficult to support her.
“Being a female in our society, people generally invest less in girls’ education as compared to boys,” she says.
After graduating from university, she became the founder of PixelArt Games Academy (PGA), which is Pakistan’s first games academy. She has been working in the game industry for the past 8 years and has started PixelArt Games Academy about 2 years ago. PGA is a training academy that teaches game development, design and production, art and animation through collaborative learning experience. She has also established a GameLab at PGA to help developers to design & Implement creative ideas. She has been listed as Forbes 30 Under 30 in Enterprise technology 2018 and recognised as a Global Gaming Citizen at The Game Awards 2018 by Facebook Gaming.
She has also won Pakistan international recognition by representing the Pakistan gaming industry internationally on many platforms, and was also invited as a speaker at Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and GameLab at American University, Washington DC. Sadia has also organised multiple international events & games jam in Pakistan. Games Emerge Conference in Pakistan is one of her popular initiatives.
Recently, she has also been listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Enterprise Technology in Asia.
Other awards received by her include the “Women Can Do” award at the Women Entrepreneurs Summit in 2016 located at the U.S. embassy, for her accomplishments.