In recent times the gaming world has seen a great deal of discussion on the ‘issue’ of women in the industry. From the furore over a female’s plan to discuss the representation of her gender, to the backlash and blame squared at a lady game-dev over comments five years old; the culture of our beloved pastime has not exactly been showing off its best side. The latest example of the dark underbelly of our gaming culture has come not from the trolls, but from the women of games themselves.
Women and men in the gaming and tech industries, as well as gamers from all walks of life, have taken to twitter with the #1ReasonWhy tag to share their own experiences and observations of why women are underrepresented in the field. The list is long and eye-opening, and from it another hashtag has spawned to support and mentor the ladies of gaming; and it all started with a simple question…
Why are there so few lady game creators?
— Luke Crane (@Burning_Luke) November 26, 2012
At first the responses trickled in, some noting that the answer is more than Twitter’s mere 140 characters can handle, then slowly but surely the reasons began pouring into the feed. A few hours later the hashtag was overflowing with reasons; men and women from varying walks of gaming-life chipped in with their thoughts, experiences, fears and realisations. The continous incidence of discrimination listed is quite sobering, so much so that some individuals were expressing concerned through the tag that it could in fact turn women away from the industry.
Here’s just a snapshot of some of the sentiments as to #1ReasonWhy there is still such a gap between the number of women and men in the industry, despite it being considered by some as a nonissue:
Because I feel like I am not welcome at E3 even though I have been making games for 31 years. #1reasonwhy
— Brenda Romero (@br) November 27, 2012
It’s a long list (infinitely longer on twitter), yet despite the disheartening nature of the many, many reasons why women feel alienated from their beloved gaming-world, what also becomes apparent in following the hashtag is the way the community is being strengthen through these shared experiences, and the awareness raised by discussing them. The tweets listed above are just a very brief glimpse of the sentiments popping up, and many are being retold and retweeted due to their relevance to so many people. As with any discussion on ‘women in gaming’, there are still individuals who have joined in to simply disregard the experiences people are giving, as well as steady stream of spam attempting to cash in on the trending tag; yet for once we have a discussion on the issue that has arisen not in response to a single event or experience, but one that is a community movement to reflect upon the industry as a whole.
In response to the numerous expressions of disillusion and concern at the constant stream of reasons, the tag of #1ReasonMentors arose filled with offers of support, advice and mentorship from women who work in the field and have braved various assaults for their gaming-love. The offers of assistance that have sprung forth are certainly reassuring, giving hope and a helping hand to both the girls and young women aspiring to work in the industry, as well as the women currently straining under the weight of the negative aspects of gaming culture.
To add to the hope inspired by the Mentor tag, @rhipratchett has pushed for women to share their #1 Reason To Be in the games industry, and what they get from it. So head on over to view or share some positive experiences, and reasons why the gaming industry is awesome.
As avid members of the gaming community, we at Esperino are interested to hear what our community think about the reasons why women are underrepresented in the gaming (and tech) industries, so why not add your opinions in our comment section below or send us a tweet? Why not tell us…
- What your experiences and reasons are?
- What you think of the discussion?
- Where should we (the gaming community) go from here?
To get in on the conversation and share your experiences, you can also head on over to twitter with your #1ReasonWhy or check out the #1ReasonMentors and #1ReasonToBe feeds for some reassurance for your path in the gaming world.