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Survey: 45% of the UK industry's women feel gender is a "barrier"

Next Gen Skills Academy also says 33% have been harassed or bullied

A survey of the UK industry's female workforce has revealed that, whilst most feel that good practices are in place to ensure gender equality, a significant proportion of women working in games still feel that they've been discriminated against.

The Gender Balance Workforce Survey, conducted by the Next Gen Skills Academy, had 311 respondees - a figure which it estimates is representative of around 40 per cent of the women working in games in the UK. Just 14 per cent of the UK games industry is comprised of women, and many of them are feeling the imbalance. Of the respondees, an alarming 45 per cent felt that their gender had been a limiting factor in their career progression, offering a significant barrier to their progress. A further 33 per cent said that they had experienced direct harassment or bullying because of their gender. That's one in three women who have felt intimidated, objectified, frightened or oppressed at their place of work.

There is evidence that the situation is improving, with 84 per cent believing that good practices are in place to ensure equal treatment of men and women, but there are also clear calls to action about what needs to change. A massive 94 per cent felt that more needed to be done to help women establish their personal brands and to find their voice within the industry. Too many feel that their contributions are belittled, undervalued or simply ignored.

To that end, the Next Gen Skills Academy is running a number of workshops aimed at cementing the progress which has been made and establish the best practice for the issues which remain. The first will discuss the barriers which remain for women and will run on February 2 in London, February 3 in Bristol, and February 4 in Manchester. Another, designed to help employers improve the working environment, will take place in London on the morning of February 19.

"We are looking forward to exploring the main issues further in our workshops in February and working with professionals in the games industry as well as trade, education and training bodies towards a more diverse and equal games industry in the years to come."

Gina Jackson, MD Next Gen Skills Academy

Helping the NGSA with their approach is Geraldine Cross, who has 20 years of experience in HR at companies like Blitz Games, Next and HSBC. She has identified two major problems which face recruiters, issues she believes they're unlikely to know that they're perpetuating, but which have a significant impact on the perspectives of women applying for jobs in games.

"The first challenge is ensuring job descriptions are gender inclusive," says Cross. "I have experienced a similar problem with age inclusion in other industries. Age discrimination regulations introduced back in 2006 highlighted that the wording of job adverts can easily be discriminatory. It was difficult at the time to get used to refraining from using adjectives in job adverts like 'dynamic' or 'mature', which may be perceived as age-related. Organisations also had to remove the requirement for a particular length of experience (for example two years), as this could be connected to age, and were instead asking for 'demonstrable experience in...', or something similar. This all seems natural now but at the time it was quite a breakthrough, and once employers realised the benefits of removing age discriminatory wording, it began to open up new pipelines often giving rise to new opportunities. Some companies such as B&Q gained a great deal from engaging in age diverse workforce activities and leading a network of employers in removing barriers to an age-balanced workforce. For B&Q it made them more reflective of their customer base and ideally placed to offer better in store support and great customer service.

"When it comes to games recruitment, we have come a long way from a game image and a 'we're hiring' banner, but I see a similar challenge to that which B&Q and others faced addressing age discrimination, but with gender. When I was browsing HR jobs just over a year ago, some adverts put me off straight away and I moved on to others. I realised afterwards that the tone and wording of the advert made me conjure up a psychological image of a recruiter who was looking for male applicants or that the environment was aggressive or hostile. I'm very focused on the wording of adverts now when I'm advising companies. We need to consider whether our job advertisements in games are putting off female applicants. Are job advertisements not only using gender-neutral words, but also gender-neutral imagery? Before the age discrimination act was put in place, employers weren't in most cases discriminating consciously - they weren't aware they were doing it. We're in a similar place with gender in games now."

By putting in place recruitment strategies that ensure we open up our opportunities to those outside of our networks, diversity imbalances in the workforce can be effectively addressed"

Geraldine Cross

Secondly, Cross believes that the widespread practice of fueling recruitment with personal recommendations could be damaging diversity. Whilst it's an understandable and often very useful tool, there is a tendency for companies to 'stir the pot' rather than bringing new blood into the market.

"I remember many years ago when diversity became a prominent issue for the vast majority of UK employers, including the banking corporation I worked for at the time," Cross writes. "In a controversial move, the company's recruitment recommendation incentive scheme, which paid a nice bonus if the person you recommended was successfully recruited, was ceased. It was deemed to be discriminatory as it tended to result in recruiting a similar workforce to the existing workforce and not opening up opportunities for new kinds of applicants to come in. Whilst that felt very strange at the time, it soon became normal practice and the bank began to grow a diverse and inclusive workforce generating an abundance of new ideas, challenging existing norms and opening our minds to innovation more readily, creating a greater reach for the business. By putting in place recruitment strategies that ensure we open up our opportunities to those outside of our networks, diversity imbalances in the workforce can be effectively addressed."

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Latest comments (42)

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend4 years ago
I will ask how exactly does one write a job description that appeals to men and not women? Surely when writing a job description you ask what you are looking for in a candidate, where and when you work and that's pretty much it? How the hell can you make a job description that makes people think "the environment was aggressive or hostile."? Let me guess, does it go something like this;

"Womble studios looking for a no-nonsense graphic artist, must be punctual, have own transport and be fully committed to the job as we don't take losers on our team. Successful candidates will have passion, drive and ambition to be the best of the best. No slackers wanted here, only the exceptional need apply!"

Something like that could be taken as aggressive but in reality, this is very close to many I have read in the past and is perfectly reasonable to me.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 13th January 2015 11:55am

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I've seen a surprising number of games job ads that ran with the idea of 'describing our perfect candidate' with what ended up sounding a lot like a personals ad, and every single one of them used male pronouns. Bit of a put-off.

Things like the 'work hard, play hard, best of the best only!' rhetoric, while not specifically gendered language, can put a lot of women off because many of us seem to be more interested in a fulfilling, interesting job than one that works you to death in a competitive environment.

And, since we still live in a society where women are often expected to take the brunt of childcare responsibilities, a job that sounds like it's going to require long hours from you right out of the gate(especially if they don't also mention their great flexible working or childcare policies!) will put off women who want or think they might want kids.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend4 years ago
I've seen a surprising number of games job ads that ran with the idea of 'describing our perfect candidate' with what ended up sounding a lot like a personals ad, and every single one of them used male pronouns.
Jessica, could you provide an example because I would really like to see how it reads so I don't ever make that mistake myself.
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Show all comments (42)
Luckily, I don't have any on hand right now! But just imagine your standard list of job requirements - 'Experience with ZBrush and Maya, good knowledge of human anatomy, has shipped at least one AAA title' just being a few I am very familiar with - only presented more like this:

'Our ideal candidate is a driven, passionate character artist with an excellent knowledge of the human form. He is an expert in ZBrush and Maya and he has shipped at least one AAA title during his career. He's not afraid to work hard, but he knows how to play hard too and loves our Beer Fridays!'
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend4 years ago
Wow, I have never seen anything that bad and if I did I would question their professionalism straight away. For a moment I thought there would be some certain way of writing I may not have known I was doing, but seeing what you mean I think I am fine. :)
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
Things like the 'work hard, play hard, best of the best only!' rhetoric, while not specifically gendered language, can put a lot of women off because many of us seem to be more interested in a fulfilling, interesting job than one that works you to death in a competitive environment.
That's exactly what I would have thought as well.

It's these reasons why I always welcome and encourage research into why there is a difference because until we explore why, we will never know what it is that we are ignorant of. That being said, gender instincts and how they relate to preferences are very well documented!
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
We must be fortunate on this side of the pond. I can't think of any job adverts I have read that have used gender specific pronouns (aside from gender specific roles like model, actor/actress, voice over artist, etc...).

And while I can think of many things that need to be changed within the industry to help foster a more gender neutral environment, the job description certainly was not one of them.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games4 years ago
I've seen ads where the terms "must be a good fit" or "must fit in" is one of the qualifications for being hired.
Never been exactly sure what they mean by that. What counts as a good fit? Your sex? Race? Age? Marital status?
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How exactly is what I said sexist, Eric? I observed that many women - not all - prefer jobs that don't emphasise long hours and a competitive nature. Plenty of men do too, of course, but as we have no shortage of men applying for games jobs anyway this doesn't significantly affect the gender ratio the way that dissuading women from applying does.
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Hi Darren,
Why not come along to the employer workshop on the 19th Feb to find out how to write job descriptions that appeal to the widest audience to help you hire the best talent for your company
Gina
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend4 years ago
Sorry I missed you at the last Skills Council meeting Gina, I have been so busy for the last 18 months I haven't had time to do anything outside of my work. I would love to come along to the employer workshop, sounds like there could be some great info there but I am not sure if I can put aside the time to do it.

Soooooo busy at the moment, but if I can make it along I will let you know.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 14th January 2015 10:15am

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Ben Mathis Art Director & Co-Founder, Snjohus Software4 years ago
Here is an excellent article highly related to the topic at hand: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/opinion/sunday/speaking-while-female.html

An excerpt: She asked professional men and women to evaluate the competence of chief executives who voiced their opinions more or less frequently. Male executives who spoke more often than their peers were rewarded with 10 percent higher ratings of competence. When female executives spoke more than their peers, both men and women punished them with 14 percent lower ratings. As this and other research shows, women who worry that talking “too much” will cause them to be disliked are not paranoid; they are often right.

One of us, Adam, was dismayed to find similar patterns when studying a health care company and advising an international bank. When male employees contributed ideas that brought in new revenue, they got significantly higher performance evaluations. But female employees who spoke up with equally valuable ideas did not improve their managers’ perception of their performance. Also, the more the men spoke up, the more helpful their managers believed them to be. But when women spoke up more, there was no increase in their perceived helpfulness.
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Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
I agree with Jessica and whilst yes, as a man I would also prefer job descriptions that have fewer 'work hard, play hard' cliches, that are less 'beer focussed', and more gender neutral too, its not difficult to see how this can put off vastly more women than men.
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Isn't that what should be solved instead of just working so hard to change the gender representation within the industry?
Hey, did you know it's possible to work on more than one problem at the same time? Crazy, huh?
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
Yes I did. Yet if you have a hole in a water pipe, it is much easier to plug it by switching off the pump first. Or am I right?
Regardless, it's a false dichotomy.

Ignoring gender preferences leaves you subject to fall fowl of favouring one over the other. We are different. It is because we are different that there is a difference in representation. Without addressing our thinking we will likely create the same representation.

What can we gain from wilful ignorance? Here is the Skills Academy aiming to enlighten us, and here we are plugging our ears. We seem to want to go through all sorts of lengths just to say "we've done nothing wrong," when this isn't suggesting we are doing anything pernicious, just that we've been uninformed about a particular matter.

Is it so painful to think we didn't know men and women have different preferences? and that there is a simple way to understand what it is?

We are awfully defensive to the point that we see everything as an attack.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 14th January 2015 11:54am

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
I find the idea of addressing the aforementioned clichés to fix representation rather presumptuous. It ignores what is already known as well as seeks to ignore what is known by moving the goal posts (when used to suggest ignoring representation).

Is there a singular root? To me it sounds like a quest for the holy grail, while the metaphor of root cause versus symptoms is a misapplied abstraction. There are many factors involved, eliminating the need to seek a singular root cause. In fact, rather than a root cause what is needed is an accurate understanding of all forces at play at the most primary levels, similar to looking for a root cause but rather than looking for a singular cause we look for the truest representation of the problem domain (which is really what the root cause approach truly seeks).

The root cause, I might add, might is likely historic and as such its solution will lead to the same conclusions. In fact the seeking of the root is merely a strategy that suits a particular mindset as it fits their thinking style.

If there is a single root it most certainly transcends the video games industry and would require a definitive understanding of the human psyche, social mechanics, micro and macro economics and deep philosophical exploration. That being said we already have these disciplines doing just that, though we have no unifying system to identify a root to most problems.

But for what we are doing, examining the representations is not applying a bandage to the symptoms. Also bear in mind that the most successful treatments in psychotherapy were found not to be in seeking the root cause (as in the Freudian approach), but in addressing the current representation. The root cause quest is just an appealing strategy, not necessarily the most rational or effective.

p.s. my apologies for the edit. My post needed improving.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 14th January 2015 12:19pm

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
That's the problem. Women are put off working in games because they aren't as passionate about games in general because they didn't grow up playing them so they aren't prepared to be exploited.

I'm not saying I agree that there isn't a problem but it's not one of gender. Fix the exploitation of people and you'll go along way in fixing the gender disparity.
That's a point I made before, though more jokingly, that perhaps we are all being duped and the women have cottoned on, thus the problem is that men are being tricked into the industry!

<devils-advocate>It is true, and does coincide with what Eric was saying. Yet on the other hand, maybe we men need our desire to compete to be exploited, while women need their desire to work in a group (or insert some other gender instinct) to be exploited.</devils-advocate>
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 years ago
I'm not saying I agree that there isn't a problem but it's not one of gender. Fix the exploitation of people and you'll go along way in fixing the gender disparity.
That is a gendered issue. Something doesn't have to only affect women to be a gendered issue, it just has to affect one gender way more than the other.

You could say that men who have difficulty overcoming societal taboos to access mental health services are only "feeling" discrimination - if they could cry and scream and show their distress, they could get help just as women do, but they don't feel they can. Changes in the way mental health services are promoted and offered, to show that they are for men too, that it's actually OK to get help for anxiety or depression just as it's OK to get help for a pulled muscle, are starting to show small results and will likely show bigger ones when implemented on a wider scale.

If what you're putting out there is met with a widespread "feeling" among certain groups, it doesn't make it not real. It still has an effect that makes it harder for them to find employment in certain sectors, or access certain services, or go to certain areas. Therefore it's not doing the job it's supposed to and needs fixing.

Also as a side-note, the main reasons for women mostly preferring jobs that don't involve endless overtime are a) child care and b) housework.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
Being exploited isn't exactly the male way of life. Shouldn't I bite off heads or something?
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Samuel Thomson Digital Artist 4 years ago
Women are put off working in games because they aren't as passionate about games in general because they didn't grow up playing them...
This line of thought is disgusting, as are all the generalisations throughout the thread that talk about a homogenous group of "women" and another of "men". Sentences like "women don't put up with what men do" are sexist statements because they make over-assumptions about people based on sex. If you haven't properly understood that, you ARE sexist.

The games industry has a terrible reputation for exploitation across the board and I think its worth talking about that general reputation elsewhere, but it seems short-sighted of anyone to come onto a comments page for an article about women being marginalised and start changing the subject, or arguing that things are equally hard on everyone. If 45% of women report that gender is a barrier, that means its a problem they have IN ADDITION to all the baseline exploitation that everyone gets just for working in games.

The most off-putting recruitment drive I've seen for game-devs (can't remember which company) made everything super military sounding with titles like "Great Warrior sought to lead a conquesting band of heroes! (Lead 3D Artist required)". It doesn't have to be an overtly gendered call-out to encourage more male applicants than female. This example has obviously been written by/for people who's main experiences of cliquey group dynamics have been positive, which is more likely to be members of the majority, in the UK games industry this means young white men.
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Iain McNulty Software / Game Developer, Yanxen4 years ago
Things like the 'work hard, play hard, best of the best only!' rhetoric, while not specifically gendered language, can put a lot of women off because many of us seem to be more interested in a fulfilling, interesting job than one that works you to death in a competitive environment.
Blatantly sexist paragraph there. You will find that such concerns are industry-wide, and are also not gender specific. To try and turn that into a gender issue is clutching at straws at best, and possibly bigotry at worst. If you think that working in a job that "works you to death" is something men look for as a positive trait in job advertisements in general then you are very sadly mistaken.
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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections4 years ago
From the article Ben Mathis mentioned... this:
Too many feel that their contributions are belittled, undervalued or simply ignored.

I'm outspoken. Very much so, yet I consistently get the feedback that I am too aggressive when I do so, no matter how hard I try to say things in a pleasing and supportive manner. When I say things in a way they find acceptable, they ignore them.
So I speak in a way that they can't ignore me. Which makes me aggressive.

It makes me wonder whether the industry really wants people like me at all. I know that outspoken confrontational individuals tend to not be very welcome in the UK (from personal experience only), but I find that in my case (which in my experience seems to be gender related) I either speak loudly, or am not heard at all.

It is exhausting.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend4 years ago
How the hell did we get here? Last time I looked at this thread everyone was discussing nicely and there was no animosity, now its all gone a bit Pete Tong!

C'mon people, were all professionals here and should be able to chat about these things without devolving into semantics and finger pointing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 14th January 2015 5:09pm

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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections4 years ago
Hired for the passion, but hated for it too. :P

Sorry to hear you're dealing with the same, but its kinda nice to know I'm not alone. I do think though that because women are generally assumed to be more mild mannered in the workplace...its more of a shock when one of us really isn't.

Having said that though, the majority of women I know in the industry have become outspoken and tough as hell, because they had to, or not be heard. But it IS exhausting.
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If you think that working in a job that "works you to death" is something men look for as a positive trait in job advertisements in general then you are very sadly mistaken.
Did I say that, or are you just putting words in my mouth so you can point fingers at the straw-woman you have created?

When I said that 'many women prefer X' I did not say that men do, and I said it because in my experience of working in the games industry I have known far more men than women who are prepared to put up with the situations I describe. Crushing crunch time, competitive, best-of-the-best-or-nothing environments and laddish attitudes are a huge turn-off for lots of people, whatever their gender, but for ~some mysterious reason~ presumably to do with the way women are socialised to behave and the living situations we find ourselves in - and, as Bonnie and I mentioned up the page, the expectations of caring and housework that we are more often expected to shoulder than men - in that context, those studio environments and attitudes turn off far more women than men.

But sure, call me a sexist bigot. I am quite used to being screamed at by people on this website for speaking my mind.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 14th January 2015 5:47pm

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Iain McNulty Software / Game Developer, Yanxen4 years ago
@Jessica

What you said in what I quoted may as well have said that, and that is how it came off to be frankly honest. To accuse one of a logical fallacy of the straw-woman, and to then go onto use anecdotal evidence (when personal experience was not hinted at in the slightest in the original post) is somewhat hypocritical, there was no deliberate misrepresentation on my part, I call things how I see them. Context is important in any debate, without it misunderstandings can, and often do happen.

Although if we are using anecdotal evidence then I can also say that in my experience I have seen men disliking excessive crunch just as much as women, because men have families and responsibilities outside of their job too. In the context that childcare and household responsibilities are generally (and it is important to note this is a generalisation, not taking into account personal circumstance) as time goes on are being shouldered increasingly on men than they used to be due to societal changes in the past few decades (at least here in the UK, I cannot comment about elsewhere), does this mean that the rejection of crunch culture will only increase from it's current level? That is a question that only time will answer. But it is also important to note there are plenty of men and women out there who do not have families, and as such childcare and/or household attributes are not really a factor for them in applying for jobs, or their workplace environment.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
Iain McNulty: because men have families and responsibilities outside of their job too
Yet figures from "a 2012 study of tenured track college professors found that only 12% of fathers took paid parental leave when it was offered compared with 69% of mothers"

Whatever the case is, something is attracting more men than women. Is it purely down to social conditioning? If so, are we at an optimal societal configuration? Should we leave our societal structures up to chance and circumstance that is founded upon many discriminatory views (homophobia, sexism, etc.) that may still be dwelling deep within the fabric of our societal structures and will no doubt stay there until we make an effort to analyse it and correct it?

Yes this is gi.biz and not psychology.biz or sociology.biz, but this is the topic at hand. Let's think outside the box a little.
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Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd4 years ago
Too many feel that their contributions are belittled, undervalued or simply ignored
This line makes me think of horoscopes and cold reading. If you reword it to target a single person rather than a group.
You feel that your contributions are belittled, undervalued or simply ignored
It feels almost like an answer from the Forer test, I think a lot of people in the games industry can associate with it, not just women.

It is a shame so many people seem to get worked up over evidence of problems, the resolution of which would only be negative for them if they are part of a problem. We should be striving for better results in these surveys for a more gender balanced industry, it won't happen overnight but these surveys track the issues that slow progress so they are important.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
If I was a gender activist I would argue that is because men feel pressure not to by their employer because it's not the done thing and I would probably argue for forced paternity leave.
@John: very true. A friend of mine who was the top performer in his company was let go after taking maternity leave.

This goes back to what Eric was alluding to. Seems we have a bit of a win/lose employment culture.

Having worked with both successful and unsuccessful female managers I've seen that women can happily behave just like a male leader, but all leaders are still subject to the appeal of their personality, expressions and behavioural characteristics.

Thing is, companies will always take the lower cost option, so if maternity leave costs them then they will want to do everything to avoid it. Perhaps tax breaks could remove the motivation to evade the cost of paternity leave.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The experiences of harassment is another interesting one that ought to be addressed, though not in the way people often think of it.

Bearing in mind the reasonable percentage of successful relationships that start in the work place I think this is a sensitive area and may reveal far more than we may expect. It's also the least likely to ever truly be tackled and I imagine the most effect we could have is a litigation frenzy.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
Here is the thing that gets me with these studies. In order for them to be entirely accurate, you would also need to know the male side of the story as well, but that is practically impossible and here is why.

Let's say you ask a random women if she feels she isn't taken seriously where she works and she says yes. Now you ask a random male worker the same thing and they say no. Who is to say what they say even means anything at all? They could actually have the same exact experiences but just view them entirely differently.

A male talks and his boss happens to ignore him. Maybe he just does not take it as personal?
How does one decide if there is actually sexism going on here or if it's simply how one views the situation that is different?

In order for it to be sexist, one gender has to be experiencing inequality compared to the other gender. It can't be just based on what people feel.

Keeping in mind, I am not saying there is no sexism going on here. Of course there is ... and there likely will always will be some form of it somewhere. I am only pointing out that these numbers can't be taken as entirely accurate based on how women feel.

The question "Do you feel you are not taken seriously?" can literally apply to anyone .. including males. You are very likely to always come up with 50% or more that agree to it, even if all those you asked received the same treatment. The reason this is the case is because most people feel this way at times. Especially when it comes to work.

So how do you decide if these numbers are accurate or not?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 15th January 2015 6:52am

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Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
How the hell did we get here?
This is one of the fastest declines I've seen for a while :(
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"In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument and gaining a new discovery"

Martine’s Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness - 1866

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barry Meade on 15th January 2015 11:26am

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
This is one of the fastest declines I've seen for a while :(
There is enough productive discussion to ignore the fighting.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
Brook makes a fair point - self-reporting surveys are inherently biased by the perceptions of the reportee. But they are one of the few types of data that you can pro-actively collect. The stats about take-up of parental leave are more concrete but require access to data held by a representative sample of companies, which is much harder to collect.

I was at the meeting where the results were presented, and there were several queries about how this data compared to other industries or even this industry at different times. The team are planning to work with trade bodies and government to gather as much data as possible on these issues. But if anyone has any suggestions to improve the survey for next time round, let's hear 'em!

The idea is that hard data should reduce the fruitless arguing...
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Chris
Yes, and that is the issue. There is no way we will ever have a definitive answer unless we collect hard data, that not only is compelling and not based on someones personal view point, but it also needs to be collected over a period of time among many different companies and locations. As you said though, this type of data is really hard to get.

You also need to take into account everyone's relationship with each other in the work place. Something that might seem sexist, might not be due to sexism at all and rather 2 people not liking one another.

It's a hard cookie to crack.

@John
Even if you where to ask why, their reasoning could differ greatly and still be taken wrong.

Example: Q: Why do you feel your boss does not take you serious compared to other males?
A: Because I see him communicate with other males and he seems to listen to them a great deal. However, when I talk he tends to interrupt me and not pay attention to what I have to say.

In this example the person who answered this might simply be just seeing what she wants to see. When you are in a third person perspective things can look different then when you are in a first person perspective. Maybe the boss is still interrupting males as well, but she just doesn't see it because maybe the males are more proactive and interrupt the boss back? Maybe the times she talks to him he just happens to actually be busy?

This is why i say .. you would need to collect evidence .. and tons of it. For long periods of time, different companies and locations. You could come across one company that is extremely sexist, but it ma not represent the vast majority of the industry. You may come across a location that is more sexist.

Point is, you can't really base any evidence or proof on what others say because it may not be accurate in the least bit.

There are times when one can view another person as being aggressive even if they actually are not. It happens all the time. There are times when I can get upset about something even if another person didn't mean to upset me and I misunderstood.

It sucks ... but that is just the nature of the beast when it comes to humans. It's hard to get accurate information. Then you have to account also for people who may lie, or might constantly view things in a negative manner. Someone who might have been picked on in the past may think everyone is talking about them behind their back and whispering even if it isn't true. You see what you want to see.

Edit: Now this doesn't mean we can't include this information into the final study and verdict to give us a much broader view and what we should be looking for.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 15th January 2015 10:35pm

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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections4 years ago
@Brook Davidson
Example: Q: Why do you feel your boss does not take you serious compared to other males?
A: Because I see him communicate with other males and he seems to listen to them a great deal. However, when I talk he tends to interrupt me and not pay attention to what I have to say.

In this example the person who answered this might simply be just seeing what she wants to see. When you are in a third person perspective things can look different then when you are in a first person perspective. Maybe the boss is still interrupting males as well, but she just doesn't see it because maybe the males are more proactive and interrupt the boss back? Maybe the times she talks to him he just happens to actually be busy?
I find it interesting that you put a "she" in that particular example.

My experience isn't limited to one workplace, or even two, but all the four companies I've worked for over the past 6 years.
6 years is (in my opinion) plenty of time to see a pattern. Like most people, I tend to observe more than talk when I begin work at a new company, so that is the time I form my opinion of how things work. After that I speak up, and it quickly becomes clear that my experience is not the same as my male coworkers at the same level, with the same personality traits as I have.

Maybe it IS just me and my approach, but over 6 years, there will be times when I haven't caught the manager at the wrong time and still get the same response.


Edit. In addition I would just say that collecting evidence indicates that I would want to call out one or more individuals on their behaviour, but thats not the case, its a more general way of thinking, an industry culture that I personally would like to change, rather than attacking any one person.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Helen Merete Simm on 16th January 2015 9:29am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Helen
I used a girl because that is what the topic is about. I could have switched it around and used a male, but didn't really think it was necessary. In most examples if I can use a girl, I will, because I identify as a girl.

See .. the issue is ... I also agree. I am sure you do experience differences and I am sure they are not just you and how you view it.

After all, males most certainly do treat females differently. However, the same applies the other way around. Females treat males differently.

How do we fix this when males and females are in fact different in many ways?

A male could be trying to treat a female in a manner he feels is best, but she might not view it that way. This is where it confuses me as to what is right or wrong.
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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections4 years ago
It is confusing, I agree!

I feel its not about our differences, its about giving people equal opportunities. Regardless of race, gender, or other differences.
Equal opportunities to speak, be heard, be respected.

*And woman is preferred to the term "girl" in a professional situation.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Helen Merete Simm on 16th January 2015 1:08pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Helen
Ya, everyone deserves equal opportunities for sure.
*And woman is preferred to the term "girl" in a professional situation.
I see. I tend to interchange them back and fourth. But for some reason I like the term "girl." XD ... Maybe it just sounds cuter .. not sure. Thanks for the heads up though, I will remember that. =^.^=
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
I would point out, though, that even though the survey stats are self-reported, that doesn't make the results imaginary. Let's say 300 men had answered the same survey and only 5% of them felt their gender was a barrier to career progression. There's two ways to interpret that:
1. there is a real difference in the way men and women are treated in the industry
2. there is no difference in workplace treatment, only in the way men and women perceive it (as some have suggested on this forum)

The thing is, even if option 2 really IS the case, the upshot is that here we have workplace conditions that are better suited to men than to women. This is still a problem, and should be investigated! Any treatment that men like but women don't is by definition gender-biased - even if applied even-handedly to both genders. So if we could identify it we'd know how to make the industry more inclusive.

Personally I think the data pretty clearly indicates a genuine problem. I don't recall ever seeing any semi-naked booth boys at E3. But even if it's a perceived problem, I don't get where this furious opposition to harmless research is coming from...
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Chris
There's two ways to interpret that
Actually there are many, many ways to interpret it. Not just 2. It's not just black and white. Some are most certainly going to be experiencing gender bias. Some are going to only perceive it as so. Some may be misunderstanding. Some could be lying. Some could be experiencing gender bias based on 1 single person and not the whole company as a whole. There are many many things to consider when taking these stats into account. So much so that you realize these stats just simply are way too inaccurate.

The thing is, even if option 2 really IS the case, the upshot is that here we have workplace conditions that are better suited to men than to women. Any treatment that men like but women don't is by definition gender-biased - even if applied even-handedly to both genders.
Who is to say men like the working conditions or the treatment? Maybe they just put up with it? Also . .how could you know if it's actually suited for men. How is it suited for men and in what way? Saying it's suited for men is technically a gender bias as well, because it very well might not be suited for men.

If it isn't suited for women, then how could it be suited for men if we are trying to be equal here and give everyone the same opportunities? If men can put up with the working conditions .. why can't women? If we are going for equality, giving different working conditions per gender is going in the opposite direction.
Personally I think the data pretty clearly indicates a genuine problem. I don't recall ever seeing any semi-naked booth boys at E3.
What does semi naked booth women have anything to do with gender bias? It's a good way to attract other to your booth, and that includes women as well. If it didn't work .. they wouldn't use it. Why are people so overly scared about using ones sexuality? It's part of human nature.

As for having semi-naked booth men ... it's not that it couldn't be done. It could, but would it be as effective? Probably not. It really has nothing to do with gender bias, it simply has more to do with what works .. and what does not. If half-naked men worked, you would be sure they would use that to their advantage. Other companies do it, because it just suits their product. The only way you will stop this sort of thing is by changing the way humans are and how we react to certain things. Which mind you ... probably is unlikely.
I don't get where this furious opposition to harmless research is coming from...
Well, there isn't any furious opposition from me, even though you are pretty much talking about everything I said. I am simply pointing out the stats can't be taken as factual and it's probably fairly inaccurate. Again .. I am not saying there isn't a problem. I am only pointing out, that more studies need to be done on this before jumping to conclusions and making claims that very well could be false.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
@Brook - well that's the point of getting a decent sample size - you get a reasonable overview which minimises the effect of outliers who might be deliberately lying or otherwise unrepresentative. That is the whole point of statistics. You can't look at a figure like 45% and say "well all those 45% may just be lying". Yes there will be various factors contributing to each individual case, but those will skew both ways (eg. some women may be unaware that they are paid less than their colleagues, to use a topical example).

As to booth babes being "what works", that's
a) wrong - http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2012/01/16/ces-why-booth-babes-are-bad-marketing - and
b) no defence. Companies do a lot of things that "work", like tax avoidance and breaching safety regs - it doesn't make it OK.

The reason you don't see booth boys is because it's culturally unacceptable - it would make male visitors uncomfortable. That's not just a tech industry thing, it's a bias that pervades our entire culture. But it would be nice if the games industry led by example, rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
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