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Women in Games: Everyone needs a hero

Two prominent designers, Brenda Romero and Robin Hunicke, speak their minds on making the industry more diverse

The gender imbalance in the video games business, and tech in general, is not news to anyone, but to professionals following the industry it's become crystal clear that promoting diversity across the board (not just gender) is one way to safeguard its future growth.

The good news is that women are clearly getting more involved with games - both as players and as game makers - as the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) reports that 22 percent of the game industry workforce is now women, while women also account for 52 percent of the gaming audience in Britain (according to the Internet Advertising Bureau) and 48 percent in the US (according to the Entertainment Software Association).

The 22 percent figure, however, doesn't reveal how low the percentages are for women when it comes to key disciplines within games. IGDA's report doesn't seem to match some others, like the last annual Game Developer survey, which showed that an overwhelming 95 percent of programmers and engineers in games were men, 91 percent of artists and animators were men, and 87 percent of all game designers were men. It's only at the producer level that women represented 22 percent. Not only that, but women on average were paid 14 percent less than men. The industry needs to turn these numbers around, or else it risks forever languishing in the "boy's club mentality" that will stifle creativity and ultimately revenue growth.

"To be honest, that's a struggle that we've had continuously in tech...regardless of whether the harassment has been publicized or not...Numbers in computer science have gone down and down and down and women have been moving into careers that are not entertainment"

Robin Hunicke

At the recent D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, I caught up with veteran designers and educators Brenda Romero (Program Director, UCSC's Games and Playable Media track) and Funomena's Robin Hunicke (also an instructor in the UCSC program). The two women bring a ton of perspective to the table because they've witnessed the changes in the industry at both the professional and academic level.

"The rate of women graduating technical career programs is about 25 percent - if our representation is about 25 percent right now then we're doing well. But if it's at 7 percent or 2 percent, then we're not doing so great. Those girls are going elsewhere. And you can see it the same way when you look at race, when you look at gender assignment, when you look at sexuality and the way people express themselves," said Hunicke.

"In general there are populations in our culture - if we're at standard parity with those in the games industry and in tech, then great. But right now we're not. And if like hires like, we're going to stay where we are or get worse. So what we need to do is bring those numbers up and then I think we'll start to see a real difference. I started in The Sims - my first job was working [in an environment] that was 50/50. So for me, every other job I've had has been a little bit strange after having that experience of development. I think it's really, really different when you're in an environment that's truly global, where people are drawn from all over the world and from all walks of life; it really feels like a family in a different way."

Romero, who started at Sir-Tech in 1981, is credited as "the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry" by the Game Developers Conference, which is honoring her with an Ambassador Award at this year's event. She, too, has seen the huge gender imbalance throughout the years, but things have also gotten a good deal better in this decade.

"It's an interesting perspective at least that I have because getting into the industry when I did, there were at the time five women in the game industry and I knew them all," she said. "I may not have known them personally. For instance, I never met Roberta Williams that I remember... but I knew who we all were, we all did. That said, I've seen since 2000, an incredibly large number of women coming into the industry. When I go to GDC I don't know all the women there by a long shot."

Indeed, interest is increasing at numerous universities. The number of young women studying game design has never been higher. "I am seeing it at the college level - 25 percent for the past two years of our class has been women, which is larger I would say than the percentage women occupy in the game industry. And I would say that because there's been a shift in our core demographic - women are now the core demographic, there are more women playing games than men playing games," she added.

It's certainly encouraging to see those numbers on the rise, but recent problems with harassment in the games business and on Twitter have unfortunately put a black eye on the field for some women, and it's a problem. Hunicke acknowledged that it's driving young talent away into other industries.

"To be honest, that's a struggle that we've had continuously in tech, engineering and computer science fields regardless of whether the harassment has been publicized or not. The imbalanced ratio that we experience is real and has been real for a long time. Numbers in computer science have gone down and down and down and women have been moving into careers that are not entertainment - they're going into working with computers in biotech, in finance, in other forms of medicine or in environmental sciences because they want to make a difference in the world, a positive difference, and they can do that in a gender balanced environment in other industries," she explained.

"It's important not just for women but for everybody to have that hero that you can look up to and say I want to be like them and follow the path that they followed to show you that it is possible"

Brenda Romero

Romero added, "To me I'm really heartened that there are more women in the game industry than there ever have been before. I do think the current climate, however, is causing a lot of younger women tremendous concern. I know it's scaring people away because I get the emails. I get the messages on Facebook. They say 'Hey Brenda can I get a candid opinion?' It's scaring people away who aren't even in the industry yet. And then there are people who are in the industry who are leaving because of it. The current climate makes it difficult."

Both Hunicke and Romero were effusive in their praise of Intel, which recently invested $300 million to promote diversity in tech. "Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the time of the announcement.

Hunicke commented, "They've committed to...diversity across the board by 2020, which is a huge commitment. They put $300 million behind the initiative not just for things inside of Intel but also to help bring women in through the pipeline that already exists, and make sure that they stay in our industry. I think that kind of initiative is a huge step forward. And I'm really looking forward to other people in games and tech stepping up and meeting those commitments as well."

Romero agreed that it's precisely these kinds of steps that can make a difference. "I would say that I am particularly impressed with the work that Intel is doing, sponsoring women in games, and Oculus is sponsoring a lunch at GDC, providing scholarships for women looking to get into computer science, into game design. These are the kinds of things that change the dynamic," she said.

For Romero, regardless of your race and whether you're male, female, transgender, gay or straight, the most important thing is to have a role model, a hero to look up to. She talked about her husband John Romero's heritage, part Cherokee, part Yaqui, and how important it is that Native Americans are finally getting some representation with a game like Never Alone. She also recalled how a young man was in tears at one QuakeCon when meeting John because he's Mexican as well.

"It meant so much to him because he could see someone like him doing that. And that's the same thing where you get friended by people on Facebook saying 'I'm a woman and I want to make games.' They just want somebody who's like them," she remarked. "The importance of us providing those role models for people [cannot be overstated].

"It's important not just for women but for everybody to have that hero that you can look up to and say I want to be like them and follow the path that they followed to show you that it is possible. Notch has breathed in just such tremendous life into the indie game community because he showed that it was absolutely possible for one guy to just achieve a stratospheric level of success. One guy could literally reboot the entire game industry, and make everybody from the top to the bottom go 'wait, what happened there?'"

Some in the industry - and we've even seen the comments on this very site - will argue that their arms are being twisted, that somehow they're being forced into hiring a diverse candidate "just because" when the typical white male candidate may actually be more talented. Romero just doesn't see that scenario playing out that way though.

"Funny enough that actually hasn't been my experience. For instance, our own program, we have a blind acceptance. So when we're looking at portfolios, we're looking at code, we're looking at experience, and I have no idea where you come from, what color you are, what your gender is and I don't know what your name is. And our class is a UN! It's been absolutely rewarding and amazing," she said.

"What I try to do is focus not on those young women, but on the men around them. And I say listen we need your help too. If we're going to get to the place where we feel safe, where we're respected and included and paid the same as everyone in this industry, we're going to need you to step up and make that happen"

Robin Hunicke

"But maybe part of that is we're literally a minority run program. So maybe we are attracting a more diverse pool of applicants. But [the idea that] 'it looks like I'm going to have to settle for less.' It's a bullshit notion! Some of the most badass coders, some of the most badass designers that I know are women. And just looking at the foundation of the game industry, there are just profound examples all around us that come in all colors and all ethnicities and every single point on the gender slider (I don't want to suggest that gender is a binary choice between male and female). I don't think we need to worry that we can't have excellent applicants," she continued.

With a more diverse workforce, we're likely to see more diverse characters in games too. Nowadays it still seems that publishers even hesitate to put a realistic-looking heroine in a lead role, as Dontnod Entertainment has pointed out on multiple occasions.

"If that's true, it has to change," Hunicke commented. "That's the best way to reach the other 50 percent of this planet. It makes business sense, it makes sense for your bottom line, but it's just the right thing to do."

While the current environment in social media and at some studios may not be all that welcoming for women, Hunicke encouraged those interested in making games to stick around, and she added that men can absolutely make a difference as well.

"Keep it up, we need you," is the message she gives aspiring young female developers. "What I try to do is focus not on those young women, but on the men around them. And I say listen we need your help too. If we're going to get to the place where we feel safe, where we're respected and included and paid the same as everyone in this industry, we're going to need you to step up and make that happen. Girls can't do it on their own - we need everyone in the industry to step up and make a personal pledge to lead from within."

Latest comments (56)

Brenda Romero is one of my heroes <3
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To paraphrase your argument, "This class of humans (the class of humans possessing vaginas) dislikes CS, and therefor to incent them all practitioners of CS should be paid more"

This is, by definition, a sexist argument. And you substitute an poor economic argument (that humans will do things they dislike if there is money to be made) and illustrate it using a classic example of a local maxima that obscures the underlying trend, instead of trying to illuminate the root cause of the disparity being measured.

Poor and biased critical thinking all around.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
John after all your posts I still think you're not quite sure what sexism entails.

Both black people and women are under represented in computer science. You can't conclude that their demographics just have less interest in a profession or topic unless you start to cite eugenics as a reason and they are genetically different (which is debunked and a bad road to take).

Certain careers have more or less friction based on who you are, they have certain social friction or education friction or economic friction. Sexism/racism is defined as the differing rates of friction on life choices between genders or races. Equality is defined as when life choices are frictionless between races/genders.

It has been well projected that by creating a culture with a frictionless economy of career paths and raising a generation of women with more confidence we will see every area of society have a more equal share of representation; this does not exclude organized crime.

In gender studies increased equality *will* bring about a greater percentage of female incarceration and female homicides. Equality is a double edged sword that will increase the freedoms but also the risk taking and personal responsibility, and it will take generations to reach this point. But women in most of the world only achieved the right to vote just prior to WWII. In the grand scheme of cultural equality we have barely moved.

I agree with you, it has gotten better, but we have a long way to go.

Edited 8 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 13th February 2015 12:24am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Shane
I would love to have links to these studies that you are talking about.

As for genetic differences between male and female. When was that ever actually debunked? I am confused about that. Citations will be needed.
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Ben Mathis Art Director & Co-Founder, Snjohus Software4 years ago
In the 1980s CS was considered to be the path to big bucks.
Yeah except you completely gloss over that the reason for the drop is that advertisements for home computers were targeted only toward men. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding

Here are some choice quotes.
A lot of computing pioneers the people who programmed the first digital computers were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed.

The share of women in computer science started falling at roughly the same moment when personal computers started showing up in U.S. homes in significant numbers.

These early personal computers weren't much more than toys. You could play pong or simple shooting games, maybe do some word processing. And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys.
And this is the same advertising beast (that many argue have gotten much more sexist) that current would-be game developers grow up in. Funneling women toward home maker jobs by creating a sea of pink barbie childcare toys while making problem solving and exploration themed toys for boys.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
@John

I really don't know when to start, so I'll leave in that I disagree and that I think that statement is a generalization that ignores a lot of proofs. It ignores the hate mail and Social media a lot of women women get when criticizing a game (not even half of what a male gets, if any), it ignores the "Don't put a female character, that doesn't sell well" it ignores the "Dragon Age director quits after her family got threatened", ignores the "Today we are going to rape some girl" in ESports. In your afirmation you are reducing it all to "If you want more women then pay everyone more". And that is, in my opinion, a quite dangerous though

It is true that our society is less sexist now. But the fact that we no longer hang out women for being unloyal to their husbands does not mean "all is good in the hood"

Nothing else to say.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
You could argue that interacting with computers is a type of language. From knowing how to translate your will into clicks in the Windows start menu, all the way up to programming code. So just lump CS together with other linguistic studies and the gender divide should fix itself. :p

As for 50% of gamers being women, that number does not tell us anything. For all we know, that might mean 50% (i.e. men) only play Call of Duty, while women play the rest, or the other way around. Which is important to know once we look at the employment statistics. We only know a number which is lumped together. It would be interesting to know whether games which are over-proportionally popular with women come from studios with a higher percentage of female decision makers.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
It's not my point of view. It's the overwhelming academic point of view.

Again it's not just women, it's a wide variety of races. Racism/Sexism isn't an act men do to women or whites do to blacks. When identical resumes are sent out and the female names on resumes get fewer call backs, this adds friction to certain career paths and will result in real world fewer employment. Female HR departments are just as likely to bias white male resumes as men HR managers are as well. Sexism is just a property or vector in society that impacts everyone. But the result is increased friction on a range of life choices based on gender. Friction on large sample sizes have dramatic real world impacts, suggesting genetics is related when we have identified so many friction points is not only junk science it's just plain wrong.
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Eyal Teler Programmer 4 years ago
I'll quote Wikipedia to back John's point. While Wikipedia isn't a definitive resource, it does reference studies.

"A meta-analysis of scientific studies concluded that men prefer working with things and women prefer working with people. When interests were classified by RIASEC type http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Codes (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional), Men showed stronger Realistic and Investigative interests, and women showed stronger Artistic, Social, and Conventional interests. Sex differences favoring men were also found for more specific measures of engineering, science, and mathematics interests." (The original article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_psychology links to this study.)
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
The greater the need for employment opportunities, and the more desperate the employers, the quicker friction plummets on career paths. In desperate times overwhelming female employment confirms the bias as the talent pool was there, just not being hired. WW2 saw overwhelming increases in female employment as friction to manufacturing jobs plummeted.

You see this in most industries.

This is first year stuff.

@Eyal Teler
Nobody disputes that if you take today's women you will find a wide range of differences compared to men, one is being less aggressive then men on average, another is being less prone to criminal urges, and importantly less prone to a wide range of activities that potentially directs their career opportunities (which is what your link shows). But women are the fastest growing sector in prisons, fastest growing sector in management and fastest growing murderers, things that negate "as is" stats. Our culture is changing, and culture, not genetics is the overwhelming force. It's even starting to be reflected in our popular culture like Orange is the new Black.

We are genetically very similar (if not identical ) to our cave men brethren 40,000 years ago, but we have slowly over thousands of years built a culture that radically influences everything about how we act, dress, work, live and pass on ideas. Culture is such an overwhelming nuclear strike to how we live our lives. It just dictates everything.

So yes, you can point to endless studies about the differences between today's men in women, but that does not address why these differences existed to start with nor why they are radically changing since equality became a goal. The rapidly changing demographics proves it's not genetics, as genes don't change this quickly, but culture does.

Edited 7 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 12th February 2015 1:14pm

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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up4 years ago
Not sure about all the other arguments and points that keep rolling about women in games and the business sales case, but the best thing to come from more females being involved in the games industry will probably be more respect for family life outside of work, and probably better development plans with increased productivity as a consequence of that respect.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 12th February 2015 12:28pm

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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
There is no need for the anti intellectualism.

Soft sciences are very complicated, even more complicated then harder sciences as it's easy to be falsely led astray. In hard sciences usually people are keenly aware of how out of their depth they are but in softer sciences you find armchair critics thinking at the drop of a hat they are more educated or wise then entire industries of built up peer reviewed knowledge. This is just not the narrative, and unless you dedicate your life to the field there is little you can contribute but not purport falsehoods.

Even the most conservative of gender critics in academia does not deny that friction for women to career paths exists. Most of the debate is around solutions which is what I will stay out of. It's getting better, things are working slowly, but we don't know why definitively or how to help it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 12th February 2015 1:33pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Shane
So yes, you can point to endless studies about the differences between today's men in women, but that does not address why these differences existed to start
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/men-women-different-brains1.htm
http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/dec/04/male-female-brains-real-differences
http://www.livescience.com/41619-male-female-brains-wired-differently.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders

I just want to go on to say that the differences between Male and Female are not just caused by society and it is much deeper than that. This isn't new science just so you know Shane. This has been known for a while. All it takes is a simple google search.

I can't say everything is caused by the differences between our brain structures, but I can say that it likely plays a large roll in the matter.

Or are you going to just deny these differences entirely because you don't believe scientists?

I have stated this in the past. I have no doubt there is sexism going on, but how much is what I don't know. How much of it is actually sexism and how much of it just comes down to our differences? Feminists will link studies based on what others say, and how things are. They never go deeper and examine why these things happen. Is it because of sexism or is it because of our differences. Many feminists will skip over this question and go straight to it being caused by sexism.

There are even some radical feminists who will say the differences in our brains isn't true at all. It's like religion vs science, but now it's feminism vs science.

I have no problem with trying to make work places more diverse and doing everything possible to do so. However, I think too many people are focusing too much on this as a bigger problem than it really is. I think people are creating more problems from it that don't actually exist to suite their agenda.
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David Vink Game Designer 4 years ago
I'm reposting one of your links if you don't mind Brook because it is good for a laugh:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/dec/04/male-female-brains-real-differences
Did you read these articles before posting them to support your argument?
I can't say everything is caused by the differences between our brain structures, but I can say that it likely plays a large roll in the matter.

Or are you going to just deny these differences entirely because you don't believe scientists?
Assuming we are still on the topic of women in games industry/ tech jobs: There is no scientific consensus whatsoever that the innate physical differences between male and female bodies, brain included, give us any reason to believe that men would be naturally better suited to games industry jobs such as coding, art, design, etc. than women.

There is, on the other hand, plenty of research suggesting that socio-cultural factors play an important part in what type of jobs and roles males and females gravitate to in human society. Some examples of this are even given in the articles you posted.
These social and cultural factors can be changed, and there is research suggesting that improving (gender) diversity is beneficial for companies and even for entire industries, giving us a reason to want to change them. Why complain when people try to work towards such changes for all of our benefit, and say that it is being 'made into a bigger problem than it really is'?
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@David
I am not complaining. I already said I am fine with improvements. I am only pointing out that not everything is as serious as some make it out to be. I was also responding to Shane who pretty much said there are no genetic differences when there clearly are.

I also even mentioned that it may not all be caused by differences in the brain. All you are doing is taking my post and extending on it rather than refuting anything I said.

Edit: As for the link ... you are right didn't read it all the way through. It is a pretty funny article though.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 13th February 2015 1:00am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@John
LOL .. it's no problem, it was my mistake.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
I was also responding to Shane who pretty much said there are no genetic differences when there clearly are.
What I am saying is that genetic differences are not the source of any of societies inequality.

Brook, at the start of life our brain has a first draft of the moral and behavourial mind. Overwhelming evidence suggests after birth our culture, education and societal roles are by far the biggest factor at changing our brain pathways and chemistry. Obviously on some level there will be minor differences but they are *not* the source of the inequality or friction to career paths or lopsided resume selection or lopsided education mentoring or lopsided expectations. If they were the source for even most of the things we wouldn't be seeing career demographics radically change every decade as more women enter management and prisons, it would be constant. If it were the source we wouldn't see identical friction patterns for black men seeking employment or bank loans.

At every turn in our society friction is added to a career opportunity or life choice. It's not just gender. You shouldn't obsess over the semantic detail that men and women on some level might be different as it has no correlation or impact to the overwhelming cultural friction proven to exist in most career paths. It's an argument used in bad faith mostly by conservatives that gets some legs in certain areas of society but could never survive in a peer reviewed environment (Which is why I said it was a bad road to take).

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 13th February 2015 1:17am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Shane
I essentially agree with everything said by John.
You shouldn't obsess over the semantic detail that men and women on some level might be different as it has no correlation or impact to the overwhelming cultural friction proven to exist in most career paths.
Except it does. It's also not even a "might be different", males and females are fundamentally different in many aspects and you can't sit there and say it plays absolutist no role in career paths.

If we where to do a study and ask men and women if they are interested in programming, and you end up with a highly skewed result. This doesn't mean there is sexism going on. It just means one gender finds more interest in such activities. Maybe one gender finds the job itself daunting or they don't like a certain aspect.

There are so many factors in this that I really don't see how you believe it's all caused by inequality.

I don't think there will ever be a day, that we will see the gender gap disappear. I think we can reduce it, sure, but I don't think we can force women to like things they simply do not like. Just because some women may like something, doesn't mean the majority will as well.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
What your saying is simply not true. Once again, identical resumes with a female name on them will get fewer call backs. This is one factor of thousands that adds a little more resistance to every step. These career paths have more friction then law or medicine especially because they inherited all the thousand year old systematic friction that a pure maths or pure physics course already have. Over large sample sizes these factors play huge roles. Additionally proven by the fact black people are under repented in technical fields as well, the friction is real.

Your opinion is at odds with those who study the field.

@Brook, black people are also less interested in programming as well. It has nothing to do with male / female.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 13th February 2015 2:50am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Shane
I really would like you to list sources and such if you would. Proof and evidence is extremely important to me when it comes to discussing things like this.

Also you do know just because black people may happen to also be uninterested in programming doesn't mean that is proof of the gender gap. That is a fallacy. For all you know both occurrences can be caused by different reasons.
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K. Al-Hurby Producer/Designer 4 years ago
What your saying is simply not true. Once again, identical resumes with a female name on them will get fewer call backs.
- the moment the face hit my palm.

I tend not to comment on these threads, cause it really is a can of worms. Especially if you disagree/question with it. You are then generalised or hinted as a misogynistic, anti-equality pig. Which, quite frankly, is insulting.

That said, I've had the privilege to work with a number of organisations, some international, others small indie - of whom, I won't bother to list as I don't want their name thrown into this - but I can full-heartedly say, what you've just implied Shane is not true. Studios, especially game development ones, can not give to hoots if you're black, white, female or male. All they care about is first your portfolio then your attitude/character. Gender doesn't even come into the equation.

Simple as Pie.

3.14159265359
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/09/23/study-shows-gender-bias-in-science-is-real-heres-why-it-matters/

The bias against women in science subject hiring has been studied, and is real. "Simple as Pie".

Just because the hirer isn't sat there thinking "oh no, a woman is applying, I must keep this vile harlot out of my industry for the sake of the patriarchy", doesn't mean that there are no deep and subconscious mental biases at work. In particular, the resume reviewer never gave sexism as their reason for saying the woman was not worth hiring, they always justified it in another way. This is their brain playing tricks on them.

(This experiment, and variations of it with names that suggest particular ethnicities, has been repeated. Always with the same results.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Gowland on 13th February 2015 6:43am

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K. Al-Hurby Producer/Designer 4 years ago
This is what I mean by a can of worms and ultimately my last response on this thread.

I'm not implying that the world is all perfect. Of course there is discrimination at all levels that effect the individual. Coming from an 'ethnic minority' myself, I can tell you It's not just gender exclusive. But to sit there and say that this is common practice, in a tight, resource heavy, professional environment is ridiculous. "They always justified it in another way".

The way the mass media has been portraying it vs my experiences and hearing experiences form others, it's simply over exaggerated. At the end of the day the studio, or 'the hirer' as you put it, looks at what you bring to the table as an individual to the team; What skill sets you have, vs body of work, your attitude and character. Nothing more, nothing less.

So yeah, "Simple as Pie".
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
So, you agree there's discrimination at all levels, quote the bit about them justifying it a different way, then go on to say this isn't happening and instead people might get turned down due to such vague and undefinable reasons as "their attitude and character". Can you really not see the cognitive dissonance here? I give up.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Is it me or we are again going down the "There is discrimination, but it must be understood since there are differences between us" road again?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 17th February 2015 9:59am

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Sam Twidale Studying Computer Systems and Software Engineering, University of York4 years ago
@K. Al-Hurby Your posts remind me of Chicago-school economists that point out that companies which make poor hiring decisions like these impose costs on themselves. This is true, especially in "tight, resource heavy" lines of work. However this doesn't make the idea of a widespread bias against hiring women in the games industry "ridiculous". Subtle and subconscious bias exists all over the place and people are often simply unaware they exist.

@Anthony The study the blogpost you linked to talks about demonstrated an unfair bias against hiring of women in some of the sciences within US academia. I'm not sure how you figure these findings are relevant when talking about hiring in the UK creative/games industries, which is what @K. Al-Hurby was talking about.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Twidale on 13th February 2015 2:59pm

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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Sure it could be that, although that study was on US science academics, and that the experiment has been repeated in different countries and on people who hire for private companies, the people hiring for UK creative industries all have logical brains free from these biases.

I don't buy it for a second because we're all human. But yeah, it could be that way.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Anthony
If there is a subconscious bias going on, then the only way to prevent it from occurring is to not have humans take part in the hiring process. Either that or they would need to remove name, sex, race, or anything that could cause a bias to occur. At the same time though this would mean they can't meet that individual until they are hired. This by itself can cause plenty or problems as it means no more interviews face to face.

The issue I have with this whole subconscious bias non sense is there is no way to fix it as far as I am aware.

Edit: Begin sarcasm ... Maybe we should give the interviewer an electric collar, and keep an eye on his or her brain waves and anytime we think they are being biased, give them an electric shock.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 13th February 2015 6:36pm

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Sam Twidale Studying Computer Systems and Software Engineering, University of York4 years ago
@Anthony
I don't buy it for a second because we're all human.
I agree. I was saying that the particular example you gave was a bad one for extrapolating about the UK games industry. Are there really no more relevant studies? I'm surprised that someone hasn't done a blind resume experiment on an unsuspecting UK games industry yet.

@Brook One area where this kind of thing had a big effect was with auditions for joining symphony orchestras: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5903 - obviously there can be drawbacks like you mentioned but in some areas the gains for women are big.
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David Vink Game Designer 4 years ago
We're not saying that sexism hasn't traditionally played a role in shaping the jobs that women have taken on. We're saying that it doesn't today or at least in plays an ever decreasing role today.
If you think you live in a world where sexism is a thing of the past you should probably stick to what you said in your first post and refrain from commenting on articles about this subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap

Or perhaps you believe women's brains are 'hard-wired' to want to earn less money then men for the same jobs?

I really would like you to list sources and such if you would. Proof and evidence is extremely important to me when it comes to discussing things like this.
That's a bit ironic since you didn't provide any evidence for your view that there are less women then men in the games industry because of the physical make-up of their brains.
The issue I have with this whole subconscious bias non sense is there is no way to fix it as far as I am aware.
Well then I have good news for you. This type of bias is based at least in part on your upbringing and environment (and the culture that you grow up in). For example in Saudi-Arabia you will find lots of people that would have all kinds of biases against women because of the local culture, no matter how much they love their mothers and sisters, etc. Most of us will consider our local culture a bit more 'advanced' in gender-equality issues than Saudi-Arabia but cold hard statistical facts such as the pay-gap show us that there is still things that could be improved.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by David Vink on 13th February 2015 9:59pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@David
That's a bit ironic since you didn't provide any evidence for your view that there are less women then men in the games industry because of the physical make-up of their brains.
I posted as much evidence as I could to show the differences between male and females brains. Obviously there is no evidence that has direct relation to gaming in general. However, what those articles do point out is that there are indeed differences between males and females, and many of those differences can certainly effect gender ratio in certain careers. So to say I didn't provide "any" evidence is a lie, because I certainly did.
Or perhaps you believe women's brains are 'hard-wired' to want to earn less money then men for the same jobs?
This is actually a highly controversial subject because there have also been studies done to show the gap doesn't actually exist. It's been said by many to simply be a myth.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-gender-pay-gap-is-a-complete-myth/
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303532704579483752909957472
http://time.com/3222543/5-feminist-myths-that-will-not-die/
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/the-biggest-myth-about-the-gender-wage-gap/276367/

You can use google to find page upon page of evidence to show the gap is a myth and is overblown into something it actually isn't.
Then you can find tons of articles showing the exact opposite. Who is telling the truth? Who is right and who is wrong?
Well then I have good news for you. This type of bias is based at least in part on your upbringing and environment (and the culture that you grow up in).
Yes it is based on ones upbringing and environment. All biases are formed in this manner due to human instincts. However, we don't live in such a perfect society for this to be corrected in it's entirety. It can be lessened, but it will never go away. The question is how much can it be lessened? How do we know when we reached the point where it's as good as it is going to get? How do we know it's not already at that point? Keeping in mind I am only talking about America, not other countries.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 13th February 2015 11:09pm

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David Vink Game Designer 4 years ago
This is actually a highly controversial subject because there have also been studies done to show the gap doesn't actually exist. It's been said by many to simply be a myth.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-gender-pay-gap-is-a-complete-myth/
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303532704579483752909957472
http://time.com/3222543/5-feminist-myths-that-will-not-die/
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/the-biggest-myth-about-the-gender-wage-gap/276367/
Despite the suggestive titles of the articles you linked, none of them deny the existence of the pay gap between genders. Again I have to wonder if you even read them. Rather they argue there are reasons for the pay gap such as men working longer hours and working in higher paying jobs. Such factors are themselves proof of sexism in society! Ask yourself why women work shorter hours and end up in lower paying jobs. Do you really believe this is due to physical/innate differences between male and female brains? Overwhelming evidence suggests this is due to cultural and societal pressures which are things that can be changed (and hopefully improved) over time.
How do we know when we reached the point where it's as good as it is going to get? How do we know it's not already at that point?
So your answer to people complaining about sexism in society at large or in the games industry in particular is "stop complaining about it, this is as good as it is going to get"?

Take this one

In fact, the gap is negative for the 22-29 and 30-39 age groups, meaning that women earn on average more than men.

This shows us that the pay gap today has more to do with the fact women choose part time work and take time out from their careers to have children. Again the so called pay gap has nothing to do with "sexism" which is what we're talking about.
We will just have to agree to disagree. In my view the idea that women earn less and sacrifice career opportunities to have children is sexist in itself. Until we create artificial wombs to grow our babies in there is no other way for humans to continue existing then by women getting pregnant. Having women's careers suffer because of this fact is in my view sexism. But we may simply have different ideas about what sexism is.
As for the whole conformational bias. Even if there is validity in that argument however the problem is that the only solution would be some sort of affirmative action.
I don't think this is true at all. The way I believe gender inequality is solved is by educating ourselves and our children about avoiding gender stereotypes and so creating a shift in culture. Affirmative action would not be my go to solution. However I'm sure it is helpful in certain more extreme situations. How about temporarily lowering the cost of driving lessons and exams for women in Saudi-Arabia so help fix the gender gap in the 'access to personal motorized transport' statistics? Would that be unfair and/or a bad idea in your opinion?

BTW I googled some studies and articles about the example of Norway you gave and found no mention of negative results of 'token women' on boards in any of them.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@David
I don't even know how I can take you seriously anymore with some of the things you just said.
Despite the suggestive titles of the articles you linked, none of them deny the existence of the pay gap between genders. Again I have to wonder if you even read them.
The point of those articles is to show you the gap isn't caused by discrimination. When they say the pay gap is a myth they are specifically talking about the kind the feminists are talking about. I don't understand how you could miss the point of that.

Obviously the pay gap itself exists, when you compare with out factoring in anything else.
Rather they argue there are reasons for the pay gap such as men working longer hours and working in higher paying jobs. Such factors are themselves proof of sexism in society!
That is not proof. Do you even know what proof is? You can't just link two things together without any reasoning behind it. Without knowing the most important question "why?" What you just did here is called a fallacy.

Men working longer hours doesn't mean sexism has anything to do with it. It could be, men are just more likely to accept working those longer hours and more women are likely to decline working longer hours. How can something be sexist if the women decided it themselves?

Men working in higher paying jobs also doesn't mean it has anything to do with sexism. Poor choices in the advancement in ones career can also cause that. There are just so many factors that you are skipping over and going straight to sexism. This is the issue with feminism and people like you. You need to learn to actually FIRST do the research, FIRST show proof, FIRST explain why and how. You can't just see data and say sexist without actually knowing why the data is the way it is. That isn't how things work.
Overwhelming evidence suggests this is due to cultural and societal pressures which are things that can be changed (and hopefully improved) over time.
Overwhelming? Seriously? Where is it? Show it to me. Talk is cheap.
So your answer to people complaining about sexism in society at large or in the games industry in particular is "stop complaining about it, this is as good as it is going to get"?
You ask me if I even read the articles and then you say something liek this. Did you not even read what I said?
I was asking question, not making statements. Questions are important because questions are how you actually do research. That is where you start. I do not yet have an answer to those question ,and that is why I brought them up, because neither do you.
We will just have to agree to disagree. In my view the idea that women earn less and sacrifice career opportunities to have children is sexist in itself.
There is not anything that can be done in that situation. It isn't sexism it's called nature. If a women decides to have kids, and gets pregnant, that isn't sexist. It was her choice.
Until we create artificial wombs to grow our babies in there is no other way for humans to continue existing then by women getting pregnant. Having women's careers suffer because of this fact is in my view sexism. But we may simply have different ideas about what sexism is.
It's not sexist. Do you even know what he word sexist even means? Anything that occurs by nature and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, isn't sexism. Or are you saying that women should be able to stop working and still get pay raises, and get promoted? Do you know how much sense that makes? Zero. If a women gets pregnant, and takes time off of work, there isn't anything we can do about it. In fact, there isn't any reason to do anything about it.

You spend more time at your job and work hard for the company, you move on up. You take time off regardless of the reason, you don't move on up as fast. I mean this ... this is common sense isn't it? It has nothing to do specifically about gender, it has to do with the amount of time and effort put into the company Having a baby does absolutely nothing for the company. Why should they care and why should they compensate? The pregnancy itself has absolutely nothing to do with the company. In fact, all it has is negative effects on the company. Not positive.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
We're not saying that sexism hasn't traditionally played a role in shaping the jobs that women have taken on. We're saying that it doesn't today or at least in plays an ever decreasing role today.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/02/14/dropboxs-hiring-practices-explain-its-disappointing%E2%80%8B-lack-of-female-employees/

@ Brook

This would also be an example of "subconscious bias" - senior executives and HR wish for "creative like minded people" to work for them, but don't realise that the environment they've created reinforces a gender-gap.
If there is a subconscious bias going on, then the only way to prevent it from occurring is to not have humans take part in the hiring process. Either that or they would need to remove name, sex, race, or anything that could cause a bias to occur
Reducto absurdum. :/

How do we perceive things objectively, when we ourselves are subjective creatures? We ask for insight from outside sources - therapists, management consultants, PR firms. All three of these groups are external and thus have clear(er) eyes on the issue. How do companies prevent subconscious bias, then? By having external auditors look-in at interviewing and hiring practices. Reading the above WaPo story, for example, I think we all here can say that having a room called the Bromance chamber, and interviewing in a room called The Break-Up Room, is pretty damn stupid for any company. But obviously Dropbox didn't think so.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 14th February 2015 10:27pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Morville
That article is terrible. I don't even need to explain why, here are a few links that do it for me. Just read the comments. You should know better than to just automatically believe what you are told without any actual or substantial evidence.
http://www.quora.com/How-true-is-this-report-about-Dropbox-hiring-practices
https://lobste.rs/s/robyzq/dropbox_s_hiring_practices_explain_its_disappointing_lack_of_female_employees
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140217222725-8451-dropbox-s-hiring-practices-explain-its-disappointing-lack-of-female-employees
How do we perceive things objectively, when we ourselves are subjective creatures? We ask for insight from outside sources - therapists, management consultants, PR firms. All three of these groups are external and thus have clear(er) eyes on the issue. How do companies prevent subconscious bias, then? By having external auditors look-in at interviewing and hiring practices.
This will not prevent biases from occurring. It may just make it happen less. It very well could also have no effect at all. I suppose it's worth a shot though. Can't hurt to try.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
This will not prevent biases from occurring. It may just make it happen less. It very well could also have no effect at all. I suppose it's worth a shot though. Can't hurt to try.
Oh my word... That's such an incredibly cynical paragraph. So much of what we do to be good - to ourselves, to other people, to the environment - is just small steps, that will eventually produce the desired effect. No, external opinion won't prevent all bias from occurring (at least not straight away), but if companies do not start the process of removing bias, then we will forever be stuck in the dark ages. (Exaggeration for effect. :) )
Just read the comments.
Read the comments on Quora, Linkedin and a site I have literally never heard of? No thanks. That the WaPo article has anecdotal evidence (from anonymous women afraid of the publicity) is good enough to prove my point, I think.
You should know better than to just automatically believe what you are told without any actual or substantial evidence.
At least the WaPo article was fact-checked by various journalists/editors, unlike comment threads.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 15th February 2015 8:28am

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 4 years ago
It is really sad how resistant people are to even seeing articles about women in the gaming industry. It saddens me greatly to see how many people react so defensively and aggressively if anyone so much as questions the status quo.

There is so much wrong in the discussion to this article.

A correlation between wages and female employment does not entail a direct causal relationship. That is poor logic.

Physical differences in the brain and psychological differences between genders does not simplify to reasons for such a huge gender imbalance in the industry. There is no direct logical link between the two. It is like using genetic differences to justify slavery; one does not entail the other however factual differences between genders or races are.

Even if we assume that women are less inclined to program or make games, why are so many so confident that the ratio of women to men is now at the right level and that no action is necessary? Based totally on a subjective opinion in an absence of objective facts.

If women do not want to work in this industry, why then still are people against making those that do feel as welcome as possible?

Child rearing is an issue that is rife with sexism. The position that Brooke espouses that companies should not support women that take time off for their children is hugely sexist, as it reinforces stereotypical gender roles where women are not worth investing in or promoting to positions of responsibility as they could just get pregnant at any time. Women should not be forced to be indistinguishable from men to be treated equally. And what about men? If women are not supported to raise children then neither are men, robbing them of the opportunity to take time off themselves to look after their own offspring. Gender equality would be best met be allowing everyone to take time to raise their kids, as it is in the best interests of the children and the parents. Saying that companies should actively encourage men to work and women to sacrifice careers should they choose to have children is exactly the kind of sexist behaviour that society should be looking to change. Everyone should be allowed to make their own choices, regardless of gender, wishes for children, or desire for a career.

The idea that positive action on gender actually causes non-sexist people to become sexist is crap - if people in Norway are not promoting capable women to the board they are sexist through choice and not because the legislation forces them to be.

And companies do not have the right to have whatever culture they want. Everyone must be made to feel welcome. Are companies allowed to decorate their work place in pornographic images despite complaints from staff? Should men be forced to sign an open apology for their male privileges if they want to work at a certain company? Should dress policy be allowed to be suits for men and four inch heels and miniskirts for women? Company culture is always open to criticism and extreme cases would be actionable under discrimination laws.

Regardless of opinions on the matter, women should be welcomed into the industry and the gender balance as it exists now is so skewed that any one suggesting that there should not be work done to attempt to bring it somewhat more into balance is obviously working on presupposed ideas about the roles of women, instead of supporting free choice for everyone, whether it be a traditional or non-traditional choice.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Morville
Oh my word... That's such an incredibly cynical paragraph. So much of what we do to be good - to ourselves, to other people, to the environment - is just small steps, that will eventually produce the desired effect. No, external opinion won't prevent all bias from occurring (at least not straight away), but if companies do not start the process of removing bias, then we will forever be stuck in the dark ages. (Exaggeration for effect. :) )
Yes, this is very true. But let me ask you a question. What if it does in fact just happen to due with gender differences and not sexism? When will the blaming it on sexism stop? Very likely never. If someone doesn't question these things then we will forever be stuck in the dark ages. (Exaggeration is good) XD

I mean, at least some of this gap has to do with gender differences. What we have to figure out is how much is caused by sexism. The issue I have with some people here is they believe it's all caused by sexism, and to me .. that is just dishonest. I have already stated previously in this thread that I am sure sexism certainly does take a part. I just don't believe it's as much as some of you seem to believe.
Read the comments on Quora, Linkedin and a site I have literally never heard of? No thanks. That the WaPo article has anecdotal evidence (from anonymous women afraid of the publicity) is good enough to prove my point, I think.
So you ignore comments even if they may make some good points? Ok . .whatever. The article to me is still rather silly, even if what they said is true about the company, it doesn't directly link toward sexism. That is just a claim that isn't proven. That type of behavior would even cause issues with hiring males who simply are not into that type of stuff. It's not inherently sexist, because some women can in fact answer those questions just fine.

By saying those questions are biased is admitting there is differences between males and females. Significantly so, that it would cause this kind of gap simply because of different interests. However, let's make this clear once more. That articles is bull crap lol. Some of those comments which you chose to ignore happened to also go for an interview there and no such questions where asked for some of them. They said the article is dishonest because the questions change based on the person they are interviewing.

I also tend to believe other people in the comments because they tend to be more honest. There is no reason for them to lie. While an article has every reason to do so for a story. But hey, whatever ... believe what it is you want to believe. I never fall for that crap because I double check myself to see if the article is even true or not.
At least the WaPo article was fact-checked by various journalists/editors, unlike comment threads.
Oh yes, and we all know these kind of people don't exaggerate or lie to make a story better to catch more attention. From now on we should all believe random articles found around the web and should not bother fact checking ourselves, but just leave it to the journalists and editors.

@Kenny
It is really sad how resistant people are to even seeing articles about women in the gaming industry.
Not really resistant to it myself. I just have a different view point. I am fine with them going on about trying to lessen the gap, the issues I have is I think it's blown out of proportion. A small issue turned into something much larger. It can get overly frustrating when you have tons of scientific evidence that shows there is gender differences, and yet some people ignore it entirely or claim it does not exist or has absolutely no effect on career choice.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 4 years ago
Not anywhere near as frustrating as to see the same faces shouting every article that mentions the huge gender imbalance in the industry, harassment of women, or anything even vaguely related to sexism due to their subjective opinion that there is not really a problem contrary to all evidence.

Treating genders differently is sexism, even if it is benign, or polite, or beneficial to that gender. What many are arguing for here is equal opportunities and traditional roles limit that. Paternal leave is a recent development, yet does that mean that we have reached equality and should stop trying to advance the role of fathers in their children's upbringing? So that everyone can make their own choice rather feel pressurised to conform to a role model that may or may not be toxic for their personality.

Gender equality should be about opening doors for people and allowing freedom, not being scared about upsetting the status quo and maybe, just maybe, inconveniencing some of the dominant social group.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
not really a problem contrary to all evidence.
The same applies in the opposite direction. Contrary to all evidence you believe there is a problem lol. What is your point? Both sides have evidence. So I really don't see what you mean by this. It would be a different case if every single piece of evidence points in a single direction, but that isn't the case.
Treating genders differently is sexism, even if it is benign, or polite, or beneficial to that gender.
I agree and disagree. Although this goes for both sides, not just women. I find all to often we focus on women alone which in itself is sexist. I am all for equality assuming it's for everyone and not just one group.

The other issue is that many of the proposition to create equality is actually discrimination is a sense if we are following this idea that genders should not be treated differently. Giving more time to one group or doing things different for that group just to equal out the numbers is discrimination. You shouldn't have to change the way you do things for a particular group of people.

Take the dropbox article posted by Marville. It proposes different questions be asked for females because the questions are "biased" towards men. However, if we are to treat both gender equally that really shouldn't be the case. We shouldn't have to change the questions ... right?

The reason why I also disagree though is because males and females ARE different. So it would be odd to treat them exactly the same because they really aren't.

There are times when you have to treat genders differently simply because of biology, not because of sexism.

Actually ignoring those differences can very well also be seen as sexism.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 16th February 2015 6:18am

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Robert McLachlan Game Designer 4 years ago
For every hero that exists to increase diversity, inclusiveness and happiness in this industry, there exists an anti-hero determined to maintain the status quo and undermine those efforts - something I think this and the other threads on this site demonstrate ad nauseam.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Robert
I don't understand why people say things like that.
Just because people may disagree with certain things doesn't mean they are the "anti-hero." What if the people who disagree actually happen to be right? Would that then make everyone else the "anti-hero?" I really don't understand this logic.

I can understand if someone was saying they don't want women to be equal or something, that would be an "anti-hero." That is clearly not what people are saying though. People here just disagree in certain areas, but we all want to achieve the same end goals. If possible.

I doubt anyone here doesn't want equality.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 16th February 2015 9:12pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 4 years ago
@ John, you have linked that article before and I simply don't understand it at all. Especially given this context, and interview with two women in the industry, both successful talking about their experiences and how to encourage more women into the industry I don't quite see how the media ignores ' the wrong kind of woman' who doesn't espouse third wave feminism.

Indeed it seems totally unrelated to anything about this discussion.

The company culture thing I did not say would lead to any extremes, only that such extremes (and not such extremes) are open to criticism, and in egregious cases are actionable by law. Game theory is not sufficient to protect individuals, as we are not all at liberty to turn down job opportunities or risk our livelihoods by attempting to challenge our employers on our own.

You also touch upon two very important issues, imho. Women in the game industry is not a political issue until it is argued that a massive gender imbalance is unimportant and unworthy of investigation. Then it becomes political as that is then debated and action needs to be taken to gather the momentum to make the things happen that should be just a matter of course in the first place. No one is talking about forcing women into jobs they don't want and are not good at for the sake of a political agenda. What I see is the opposite, that people are resisting encouraging women for the sake of, if not a political agenda, but because they are afraid that it is part of a political agenda they don't agree with so must be stopped.

Also morality is a necessary part of politics, not something that is mutually exclusive. There are right and wrongs, there are also realities that must be dealt with (such as scantily clad cover girls on men's magazines, while they continue to ring in more copies sold it is difficult to criticise magazines for running them whatever your ethical position is on them). Right and wrong is not dependant on your political view, but your ethical one. And fairness for all is an ethical concern, not a political one, even if its implementation is done through the political sphere more often than not.

@ Brook There is no evidence that there is not a huge gender imbalance in the industry. There is no evidence that lack of diversity is a good thing. There is no evidence that an industry that has professionals that are made up overwhelmingly of a different demographic than its audience is a good thing. There is no evidence that physical or genetic differences between genders has any relation to the gender balance in the game industry (particularly given that the same imbalance or greater exists in the creative sections of that industry). There is no evidence that the current percentage of women working in the industry matches any kind of innate natural order. On the contrary there is evidence that supports the opposite of most of these statements.


Equality is not about treated both genders exactly the same but equally. I have never seen any part of biology that requires unequal treatment.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Kenny
There is no evidence that there is not a huge gender imbalance in the industry.
This is just a silly statement. We know there is a gender imbalance, but what we don't know is the underlying cause. of that imbalance.
There is no evidence that lack of diversity is a good thing.
Not even sure what you mean by this. I think diversity is a good thing just as much as you do. I don't think I ever said anything to the contrary. I have only merely suggest the lack of diversity may not be caused by sexism specifically.
There is no evidence that an industry that has professionals that are made up overwhelmingly of a different demographic than its audience is a good thing.
Except the game industry isn't that simple. The kind of games females play tend to differ greatly than the kinds of games males play. Maybe there are more female developers in games that females tend to play? Also, just because females like to play game doesn't necessarily mean they would also like to develop those games. There is a huge difference between play and work. This even applies to males. However, maybe males are more interested in doing so.
There is no evidence that physical or genetic differences between genders has any relation to the gender balance in the game industry (particularly given that the same imbalance or greater exists in the creative sections of that industry).
You are 100% correct. There is no evidence of such a thing. There is evidence though that there are genetic differences between genders that can .... CAN play a role in it. I emphasized "can" just to point out that I am not claiming it does. Just that three is a real possibility that it does.

I also have to point out, just because a female might be creative doesn't mean they would like working in the game industry even if it's a creative role. Creativity takes many forms. Females express creativity differently than males tend to do. So you can even expect differences there. As an artist myself, I can actually tell if a person is male or female based on how they draw and what they draw. This shouldn't be possible if there where not differences right?
There is no evidence that the current percentage of women working in the industry matches any kind of innate natural order. On the contrary there is evidence that supports the opposite of most of these statements.
I actually believe there is plenty of evidence that the imbalance can be caused naturally. However, that is where I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

I also don't see the evidence of the opposite of which you talk about. The only evidence I have seen is the actual gender imbalance. No one seems to actually have evidence for why that balance exists though.

Equality is not about treated both genders exactly the same but equally. I have never seen any part of biology that requires unequal treatment.
Physically, yes there is. Other wise women and men should be capable of playing in the same sports on equal footing. Not sure if you ever taken a biology class, but men are stronger. It absolutely require unequal treatment. If you have a male lift 300 pounds, you likely can't expect a female under the same exact training to do so as well. This doesn't mean it can't happen, it certainly can, but in most cases you would not do that.

Biology also plays a very large roll in emotional behavior due to males and females having different levels of chemicals. These chemicals contribute to many different behaviors. Hormones are often mentioned as a pretty significant difference between genders as an example. These chemicals also can have significant effects on likes and dislikes. A good example of this is a transgender individual such as myself. Before we are allowed to start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) we have to show we know the effects it will have on us and the dangers. Not only will it change emotions, it can even change ones personality slightly and interests. Things you may have been interested in before, you may lose interest in. Things you may have had no interest in, you may suddenly grow an interest in.

If this isn't proof, I don't know what is. We can see the effects these chemicals can have on someone. This is actually why many transgender such as myself don't like what feminists are currently doing. Because not everything is based on a social construct and there are actual differences between males and females. Saying other wise undermines what a transgender person feels. Saying it's just a social construct and caused by sexism implies our feeling are also caused in that manner.

People with chemical imbalances also show signs of differences in personality. Chemical imbalances are actually what causes many disorders that we currently know of today.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 16th February 2015 10:16pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
The kind of games females play tend to differ greatly than the kinds of games males play.
I would question this, for one very good reason. I think people (not just people here, and I'm not singling you out, Brook) confuse gender and personality types. The types of game that I play (like the films I enjoy, the books I read) are more based on what I find interesting, than what my gender determines. It's nice short-hand to say "Women prefer puzzle games," but it's not entirely true, and it leads to statements like the quoted sentence. Whilst the short-hand can be useful, it can also lead us to assume that a group will benefit from something when it may not, and lead to other groups being excluded. It can also lead to resentment ("Those pesky wimmins are taking me games away"), which is again inaccurate.

(Interestingly, this could also be seen as subconscious bias, against both men and women, since it presupposes not only that women tend to play more of a certain type of game, but also that men tend to play less of a certain type of game).

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 17th February 2015 7:33am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Morville
Look ... it's not a bias if it's true.
It's not like I am saying all women prefer different games than men. This isn't true in the least bit. However, there is a significant difference in the genre women tend to like compared to men. Not just in video games, but books, movies, music, etc.
Personalities will obviously have an effect on what someone likes, but I am not claiming all women are like this. I am talking overall, the majority.

If it was entirely based on personality types, there should be an equal distribution among the genres, should there not?
78% of romance readers are female as an example of this. If it was entirely based on personality we shouldn't see differences like this.

Unless you are going to say personalities differ among male and female, in which case it's pretty much the same thing I said. Males and females like different things. This isn't something new, it's pretty well known.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 years ago
@Brook
There is evidence though that there are genetic differences between genders that can .... CAN play a role in it.
What evidence? Which genetic differences?
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
Unless you are going to say personalities differ among male and female, in which case it's pretty much the same thing I said.
This is the thing though - being absolutely accurate, it's not what you said. You might have clarified what you meant, but what you said was
The kind of games females play tend to differ greatly than the kinds of games males play.
It seems very pedantic of me, yes, I agree ( :p ). But we need to accept that what we're talking about here (and what these threads usually drift into) is one part biology and one part sociology, both fields which require more... granular definitions and grammar. :)
If it was entirely based on personality types, there should be an equal distribution among the genres, should there not?
And how do we know there isn't? And how do we know that the genres which aren't, aren't because of marketing and/or sexism? (Note: I'm not saying they are/are not, just that if we start from a position of bias that seems to exclude groups, then arguing that those excluded groups don't like certain genres is an exercise in futility.) For example:
78% of romance readers are female as an example of this. If it was entirely based on personality we shouldn't see differences like this.
And how do we know this? Definitions of masculinity surely work against men saying "Oh, yes, I like supernatural romance books," just like definitions of femininity work against women saying "I like watching porn." In both cases, marketing is done towards gender stereotypes (with a couple of notable exceptions). To further this point, I feel comfortable admitting I have watched porn, yet I feel uncomfortable perusing the supernatural romance shelves of Waterstones without my fiance. (And I'll be the first to admit I'm more effeminate and less Alpha Male type. :) )

(Btw, I feel I'm coming across a little abrupt. I don't mean to be rude. :) )

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 17th February 2015 7:35pm

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 years ago
@John
Actually we sort of are unless slavery has been brought back and I never got the memo. What you are saying is that people might not like something but accept it.
Losing your job is a pretty big deal. It's about the next step down from having a gun to your head, especially if you lose OR KEEP your job after bringing a lawsuit - you are completely screwed if you ever want to move to another role. You can still be completely miserable and horribly treated and not be able to do anything about it because you need the money and the reference.

From your posts, it also sounds like you're prey to a common belief that certain equality laws force companies to employ a certain quota of women. They don't - at their most extreme, if two candidates are equally well qualified for a role, they say you should take the one from the least represented class.

Also note that working part-time and taking care of your family isn't a choice if there's no-one else to do it. Most couples decide who will stay home with the kids according to who's paid the most, these days. When the family doesn't involve a couple, it's usually a woman who gets dumped with the kids; women still make up the vast majority of single parents.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 4 years ago
@ John this discussion is just too large and I cannot really follow your arguments at all. Not that I blame you for that - I am sure that I too only actually say a fraction of what I want in any comment that does not lead to a cohesive argument. I'll just have to leave to it as aht seeking to encourage women into the industry and making those already working here more welcome is not a political issue, it is common sense. Working to prevent any such initiatives or criticising them is a political issue, and fairly unethical by any standards

@Brook Again I just feel the whole argument has gone over your head. The point is not if there are differences between genders, but whether those differences are the sole reasons for the gender imbalance in the industry now. That imbalance is throughout the whole industry so which games women play does not seem to be an issue - unless we assume that something like 5% of the workforce makes games for 50% of the consumers. And then I think we can see that those women are where it is at in terms of efficiency.

I'll list what I know about transgender people here so that you can correct me where I am wrong.

OK that done, let me tell you that you as a woman, are far more than a list of acceptable behaviours made by other people. Your gender and personality is far deeper than cultural and societal construct that has been shaped through historical necessity, circumstance and in no small part by a dominant social group. You are a unique individual, of which your gender is only a part and certainly your hormone are no more than an influence, and you like anyone else should be free to choose what paths you want in life without censure from others because it is not on their allowed list for your age, race, skin colour or gender.

That is the point I am trying to make, and in relation to the gender imbalance in the industry that means we should be working towards sovling whatever issues there are that are causing it and not simply assuming that it is just how it is and how it should be, as nearly all research shows that such things as career choice are shaped through culture, not physical differences.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Morville
Don't worry, you are not coming off as rude. I had the same thoughts actually as well when I was typing it in.

This very well could be the case, but I don't think so, and here is why. I am going to do a little skit here XD bare with me.

Jill: Hey, do you like romance novels Jack?
Jack: Absolutely not. I like action, adventure and mystery!
Jill: Are you just saying that because you are worried about what other might think? Does it threaten your masculinity?
Jack: Yes Jill, it does. It's not socially accepted and men face biases on what genre of book they read.
Jill: But you openly watch My Little Pony don't you? Wouldn't that be worse?
Jack: *Facepalm* You cannot begin to understand my man hood Jill!

lol I know .. what a stupid skit. I don't know if you get what my point is, but in short, if biases really played a part in what people decided to like and dislike, I don't understand why My Little Pony would be any different. I think a guy would get more crap about liking My Little Pony than he would if he read romance novels.

There is no doubt bias in this world, because people shouldn't get crap at all about these type of things. There will always be differences among people. I do think these biases where created due to gender differences though. They are the result not the cause.

Let's say a bunch of friends hang out. They are talking about sports and they all seem to find an interest in sport except one of them. Because they all seem to like sports and this one person doesn't, they get called into question. Among these friends, they know all their other friends also like sports. So why does this one person not like sports. They call into question his masculinity. Them liking sports isn't caused by a bias, the bias is caused by them liking sports.

When you have a majority like something and 1 does not, people automatically wonder because it's unusual to them and it causes biases.

lol I don't know if that makes any sense, but that is how I view it.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
@Bonnie
What evidence? Which genetic differences?
If you are asking me what evidence and genetic differences, then you clearly have not read all my comments. Do I really need to go over this again?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 17th February 2015 8:46pm

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Eyal Teler Programmer 4 years ago
@Shane Sweeney, I thought about your point, and if you are right that society determines what the leaning of people, an in particular what jobs people take, then I think that by all means we should discourage women from going to STEM. It would perhaps be better if we in addition encouraged more men to go to social leaning jobs, but since so far we have a segment of the population which has a leaning towards that, we should keep that strength instead of diminishing it. I can tell you that I'd admire my kids more if they become nurses or social workers or teachers than if they become programmers. If women are indeed committing more crimes, it's a good sign that we're going in a bad direction.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
Who knows what problems will equality laws that seek equal representation of genders/races rather than equal opportunity of gender/races?
Who knows what doing ANYTHING will do? We'd all be paralysed by fear if we didn't do anything in case something bad happened. More importantly, arguing for the status quo is STILL doing something. So turn it around - what problems will be caused by neglecting equal representation? Well, we had racial segregation within living memory, and still gender segregation in some countries. Can we at least agree that those are bad things?

[EDIT] OK, that does sound like a Reductio ad Absurdum. My point is that women and people of colour and LGBT folk are still engaged in the process of dragging themselves out of a mire of cultural oppression going back centuries. Women only got the vote here in 1928. Elsewhere in the world they're still not allowed to vote, drive, read and so forth. And yet you're arguing that sexism is now a SOLVED PROBLEM in western culture...within a human lifetime we have shed ALL bias, achieved a gender-blind society, and can therefore relax. That IS absurd...no Reductio necessary.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Payne on 18th February 2015 1:48pm

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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
Burden of proof is on you then to demonstrate that 84/16 is "the natural balance" of genders in our industry. Good luck!
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Sam Twidale Studying Computer Systems and Software Engineering, University of York4 years ago
@John
I have proved that society is no longer institutionally sexist.
Nobody has even "proved" anything about the games industry on this comments thread, and you certainly haven't shown anything about society.

You need to look more closely at the serious research on this and appreciate that it is just unfeasible in many cases for peer-reviewed academics to falsify their research findings. Funny to think that this worldview of yours seems to rely on the claim that academia is institutionally sexist! Here's what you said:
Academics in this field have a vested interest. They aren't impartial because they're believers in social engineering. They want to justify what they are doing but it's just wrong. Their thinking is wrong and their solutions are wrong.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sam Twidale on 18th February 2015 3:20pm

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