LadyCADE was thought up in the summer of 2013 over video game-themed cocktails, when Innes McKendrick, Holly Pickering and Gemma Thomson decided to create a casual event for women in games. Having already attended a few gender-positive events, they were aware of the efforts already being put into recruiting women into the games industry. However, they also recognised how few of those events actually invited women to have fun, or appealed to their creativity. They decided there should be more on offer to support those who are already engaged with or working in the gaming medium.
Thus was the organisation founded: on the idea of a safe but casual space, away from the masculine skew of many games industry events; a space for women to share their passion for gaming and game creation. LadyCADE's debut event was a pub gathering on the fringe of Nottingham's Gamecity festival in 2013, which gathered some 40-plus men and women - developers, writers and gamers - to chat, play games and forge new friendships.
A year later, LadyCADE made its solo, London debut with a stand-alone Summer Spectacular. The organisers rounded up a number of female indie developers to showcase their games, in the first all-female games showcase of its kind. 'LadyCADE Arcade' included titles from a wide range of genres, putting their creators in direct contact with gamers, press and fellow developers. It wasn't long before the organisers were asked to repeat this effort, and later that year Gamecity devoted an entire gallery and an evening bar social to LadyCADE's 1st anniversary event.
LadyCADE has since begun making efforts to expand, looking beyond the UK to run events in wider Europe - initially with a meetup to mark the opening of Sweden's Creative Coast Festival. Co-founder and events organiser Gemma Thomson then joined a panel of diversity campaigners at GDC 2016 in order to discuss LadyCADE's founding and its role on the international stage.