Women are playing an ever-larger role in the gaming industry. Whether it’s as a female gamer, who are making up an ever-larger percentage of the gaming population, or a woman within the gaming industry, women are much more prominent today within gaming circles than they’ve ever been.
It’s for good reason. There’s been an increased need to address the small representation of women within gaming, and an increased effort on the part of everybody from schools to gaming studios to make this happen. Along with recruiting drives aimed at hiring women into gaming roles, and organisations like Women in Gaming and IGDA, who have been pushing for equal representation and supporting women who are in, or want to venture into the industry, there’s a strong argument for hiring women.
A better representation of gaming demographics
In the UK, women make up 42% of the gaming industry. In the USA, women older than 18 make up 36% of the gaming population- which is more than the percentage for boys younger than 18, which is 17%. Given these statistics, it makes sense to include more women in the gaming industry- and not just because it’s good practice to do so. Women developers could actually increase the diversity of the customer base, bringing different audiences and attracting different demographics than the gaming industry’s traditional slant towards young white males.
More ideas- and a greater variety of games
An increased female presence will also benefit the games themselves. If a developing team, or a gaming studio, is more or less homogenous, then the chances of them coming up with fresh and exciting ideas is lower than it would be with a diverse workforce. Women bring in new ideas, fresh perspectives and even the potential to increase diversity in the games themselves- which is already becoming more prevalent, with well-rounded women and BAME characters taking centre stage, even in action game franchises like Call of Duty. Not only does this have the ability to revitalise the gaming industry- it will also better represent the reality of the gaming population.
Women have to be driven if they want to succeed in gaming. Due to the difficulty of climbing the ranks within the industry, and being seen as professionals by their male colleagues, they have to be tough, dynamic and driven if they want to do well- especially as up to a third of women have reported being harassed or bullied by their male colleagues within the industry. Increasing the number of women in gaming might not only challenge their male counterparts, therefore, but even help to drive a more efficient and productive workforce- especially if they’re in charge.
A positive circle
One common problem that crops up when encouraging gender equality in the gaming industry is that women can be discouraged from applying to jobs or from joining the industry by the gender disparity. However, the more females will join. By taking a no-tolerance approach to cyber-bullying, reducing bias in recruitment and creating an open and fair workspace, female developers, coders and even executives will undoubtedly start to become more prevalent.
That can only be a good thing.