Female game developer Quinn Dunki has criticised Clint Hocking's recent column about the value of women in game studios as, "an aspect of the problem."
Writing for Edge magazine, Hocking compared the internal culture of most game developers to the Vikings, and suggested that this is reflected in the games they produce.
He urged the industry to create a more balanced environment by encouraging more women to join the industry, but Dunki, a developer with 20-years of experience and sole proprietor of iOS studio One Girl, One Laptop Productions, believes that Hocking has missed the point.
"I like the sentiment, but framing the debate this way is an aspect of the problem," she told GamesIndustry.biz. "The only way women are going to be comfortable in the industry is knowing that people don't care about gender."
"Making an issue of gender is the issue. We need to get past that. Strive to be the pure meritocracy that most people agree we should have. If you're a man in a power position, that means keeping a critical eye on your own internal biases, and make extra effort to be fair."
Dunki asserts that the problem is far bigger than the games industry, and needs to be addressed earlier than even Hocking acknowledges.
"The outreach needs to go down to the middle school levels. That's where the research shows girls stop studying math and science due to pressures from peers and other sources."
"The only difference between me and my math-inclined, game-loving friend who does advanced needlepoint instead of engineering is that she succumbed to the peer pressure. Fix this problem, and everything else will come out in the wash in a generation or two."
"In the meantime, the best thing we can do is provide role models. If you're a female engineer or scientist, put yourself out there. Give young girls someone they can look at and say, 'Hey, I can do that too.'"