After seeing the recent flurry of attacks on women in the industry, Kongregate co-founder Emily Greer became curious about how her own experiences measured up with those of her brother and co-founder Jim Greer. She shared her findings yesterday in a blog post on the company's website.
The siblings have been involved in the company from the start, in equally prominent roles (Jim also served as CEO before Emily), equally involved in the community, and neither had been particularly vocal when it came to issues of gender in the industry. So Emily compared the messages each has received through Kongregate's messaging system over the last seven-plus years. The 5,000 messages were split nearly evenly, but Emily found nine harassing messages sent to her brother, and only two of them sexual. She had received 36 harassing messages, nine of them sexual.
"This is not a perfect comparison, of course, as Jim and I have slightly different relations with the community and the overall level of harassment is not high," Greer said. "We invest quite a bit of effort into moderation of forums, chat, etc, and active players on a site are likely to hold the founders in high esteem. It is, however, about as close to a natural A/B test as you're going to get of the difference in treatment between a publicly known male and female in the game industry."
Greer said the messages were transparently the work of young men looking for attention, but wondered why they would target a woman so much more frequently. Regardless of the reason, she came to a sad conclusion about the effect of such actions.
"Running these numbers through a statistical significance test confirms what should be obvious to anyone following Gamergate: with a 99.9 percent confidence level it is harder to be a woman than a man in the game industry, independent of what you say or do."