Ways to tackle gender inequality in the games industry
The gaming industry has traditionally been dominated by men, both in terms of the developers creating the games and the players who enjoy them. This gender imbalance has led to issues with representation and equality, and it's time for the industry to take steps to address these problems. In this post, we'll explore some potential approaches for changing the gender inequality in gaming culture.
Encourage More Women to Pursue Careers in Game Development
One of the biggest issues with the gaming industry is the lack of female representation in game development. According to a study by the International Game Developers Association, in 2021 only 30% of game developers are women.
To address this issue, the industry needs to take steps to encourage more women to pursue careers in game development. This could involve offering mentorship programs, scholarships, and other forms of support to help women get their foot in the door. In an effort to create more equality in today’s male-dominated gaming industry, Media Design School (MDS) faculty member Tece Bayrak started Girls in Games – a program that brings together industry leaders, MDS faculty, and students to encourage and empower girls to pursue careers in programming and game development.
Increase Representation of Women in Games
The lack of female representation in game development has led to a lack of representation of women in games. Female characters are often stereotyped, sexualized, or relegated to supporting roles, and this sends a message that women aren't important or valued in gaming culture.
Game developers need to make a conscious effort to include more female characters in their games and to portray them in a positive and empowering way. This means creating well-rounded, complex female characters who are more than just eye candy or damsels in distress.
Female characters like Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), Ellie (The last of us), and Commander Shepard (Mass Effect) are getting more attention and support in video games. They are not just there to look pretty or to be saved by men. They are strong, interesting, and have their own stories.
Game developers are starting to make more diverse characters that everyone can enjoy. This means more women and people from different backgrounds are being included in games. As more of these characters are made, the gaming industry will become more fair and friendly to all players.
Address Toxic Gaming Culture
One of the biggest obstacles to equality in gaming culture is the prevalence of toxic behavior, including harassment and discrimination. Women, in particular, are often targeted with sexist comments, threats, and other forms of abuse when playing games online.
To change this toxic culture, the gaming industry needs to take a stand against harassment and discrimination, and create safe spaces for all players. This could involve implementing stronger moderation policies, educating players about respectful behavior, and providing institutions and contact persons for victims of harassment.
Highlight Women in the Gaming Community
The industry needs to do more to highlight the contributions of women to gaming culture. This could involve highlighting female streamers and content creators, featuringmore women in gaming media or sponsoring female-led gaming events, like Womenize, a conference and networking event that aims to empower women in the gaming and tech industries. It is organized by the International Games Week Berlin, a week-long series of events celebrating the games industry that takes place annually in Berlin, Germany.
By doing so, the industry can send a message that women are an integral part of gaming culture, and that their voices and experiences are valued.
In conclusion, the lack of gender diversity in gaming culture is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address and can't be 'solved' by this article. But, by encouraging more women to pursue careers in game development, increasing representation of women in games, addressing toxic gaming culture, and highlighting women in the gaming community, the industry can take steps toward a more tolerant and equal future for all people.
The gaming industry is making progress towards greater gender equality and inclusivity, with a growing recognition of the need for diverse representation in games. As this trend continues, we can expect to see a more welcoming and equal gaming environment for all.