In terms of equality, women have come a long way over the last fifty or so years. No longer relegated to the house, women are now forging successful careers for themselves in the workplace, the office and the boardroom.
However, in more traditionally male-dominated areas, gender diversity still remains a problem- and one of those areas is in technology and gaming. About 41% of gamers in the UK are women, but this is a demographic that remains unreflected in the industry as a whole, with men dominating the sector’s jobs, especially ones that are development- and software-heavy.
But this is changing. People are now wising up to the benefits- and importance- of having a more gender-representative workforce, and the industry is starting to take steps to encourage this. With the rise of female ‘Twitchers’- or girls that play games for a living- has come a slew of new initiatives aimed to translate this to the workplace.
Though universities remain slow to cotton onto the idea, video studios at least are waking up to the potential of women in gaming. The UK studios Creative Assembly and Media Molecule are actively involved in this issue, regularly organising educational initiatives like National Coding Week, and developer workshops, whilst the video game developer LearnDistrict runs a Girls Mae Games programme which runs everything from game jams to summer camps aimed at getting girls into gaming, teaching them the basics of game development before letting them start to code their own games.
We’re also starting to see games themselves diversify- last years’ latest Uncharted game featured two women as the main characters, which is a step in the right direction for an industry frequently accused of sexism.
Alongside this, many gaming recruitment agencies like Amiqus are running their own initiatives to encourage gender diversity, championing women in the industry and setting up a platform for women gamers and coders to express themselves. In addition, websites like Women in Games and Gamer Women offer women support, advice and a community where they can mix with like-minded people, attend events together and network.
For people wanting to tackle diversity in the workplace, there is still a lot to do: sexism is still rampant within the industry, and this, alongside a stigma against women entering what is often seen as a ‘man’s job, can often act as a deterrent to girls who want to go into gaming.
But these initiatives are slowly gathering pace. And hopefully next year we’ll see even more progress towards a balanced workforce within the gaming industry.