Getting More Women to Work in Games Is Easy

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Getting More Women to Work in Games Is Easy

Having equal gender representation in the games industry is easy. You just have to change everything about your company.

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FogHornG36

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Jan 29, 2011
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So what you are saying is that women have the ability to work in the "game" business but they ether don't know that they can or "invisible bias" (PATRIARCHY!) keeps them out.

"Having equal gender representation in the games industry is easy, you just have to change everything about your company."

If you are a successful business... Why? will that increase sales? produce a better product? Will it reduce overhead? will it make the stock price go up? Will having more women in the company help produce a product that plays to your core demographic?

Im sure all that comes off as im a sexist, but there have been women writing for games all the way back to the Atari so it looks like the barrier to entry is more ability rather then gender.
 

BlueJoneleth

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Feb 8, 2011
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Easier said than done. I work at the IT department of a press agency & our department only has guys.
We never have a woman apply when a position is open.

When I started studying ICT a decade ago, there were 100 students in our first year.

Two of them were girls.

So there is definitely a lack of interest from women to work in the IT sector.
 

IceStar100

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Jan 5, 2009
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Is it bad that all I can think is.

Oh it this topic again.

I get it I'm a white male therefore everything wrong with the world. I swear it's getting harder and harder to pay attrition to the topic and not just drown it out like the ravings of a mad man erm i'm so sorry a mad man or woman.
 

Kameburger

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Apr 7, 2012
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You know the truth is that women will gradually enter the game industry more and more, and the attitude will change and so will the atmosphere within these companies. The truth I think tends to be more that years ago at many points, people who were really into games and now are the leaders of the industry, were not as popular. Their hobby was something that did not attract the right kind of attention and thus this feeling toward women as those who reject them lingers. Of course this doesn't apply to everyone but I think it applies to a great deal of people. Women are repelled by you until you are management at a company that you entered because your hobby was more then a hobby to you, and now the people who you associate with making you suffer for that hobby, are now telling you what a scumbag you are for not giving them a job.

Of course this is a stupid thought, but its not a conscious thought. Projecting your own prejudice on someone based on similar attributes and perceived relations is what gives us the 'patriarchy' that I as a man don't feel a part of any more then I do a slave owner for being white, or on the reverse side, a 'criminal' for being black, or any sort of 'inferiority' for being a women. while there is no equivalency in perceptions. They are all examples of subconscious labeling that we engage in based on very simple subconscious reactions to events that shape our perceptions. Right now a group of men are sitting on the top of board rooms in various companies (definitely not all) with many of these kind of negative subconscious perceptions.

I would say that the good news is that these perceptions are not shared by the younger generation and can not be transmitted to others who haven't shared the experience that causes the perception. So yeah the times will change whether or not these people change there businesses or not.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Having equal gender representation in the games industry is easy, you just have to change everything about your company.
Feminism in a nutshell. "We don't want to change, so you should." I will admit though, that "culture fit" is a bad excuse and prompts some selfevaluation. I absolutely get why some teams, especially small ones, are wary of change and having to deal with not being an exclusive boy club anymore, especially if this particular woman shows up on your doorstep, but frankly it's immature.

Resume scanning is a huge topic though. Companies often use agencies and they use scanners to skim resumes, throwing the bulk into the bin unless it contains specified keywords that relate to education and experience, at the detriment of not only women, but a lot of people in all branches of work.

BlueJoneleth said:
Easier said than done. I work at the IT department of a press agency & our department only has guys.
We never have a woman apply when a position is open.

When I started studying ICT a decade ago, there were 100 students in our first year.

Two of them were girls.

So there is definitely a lack of interest from women to work in the IT sector.
I'm not savvy when it comes to education and specific courses in development, but isn't there a huge difference between ICT and anything related to game development?
ICT sounds like maintenance work and infrastructure, while game development has psychological studies and a wide range of art design, on top of actual programming.

Are they connected though?

Either way, my guess is that you're more likely to find the bulk of women interested in making games, on courses and classes that deal with concepts, art and management.
 

Riotguards

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i don't know why this is even a problem i though the whole point of a business is not hiring an equal amount of men and women (but feminist would most likely want it all women) but to hire the best people for the job, gender only plays a part in it when your installing toilets
 

BlueJoneleth

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Smilomaniac said:
I'm not savvy when it comes to education and specific courses in development, but isn't there a huge difference between ICT and anything related to game development?
ICT sounds like maintenance work and infrastructure, while game development has psychological studies and a wide range of art design, on top of actual programming.

Are they connected though?
Video games are a subtype of IT projects. A friend of mine is a game designer and has a background in programming. Sure it's not 100% required but when you design a video game, you have to be well aware of what's technically possible and what's not, so having a good amount of technical knowledge is very important.
 

BlueJoneleth

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Riotguards said:
i don't know why this is even a problem i though the whole point of a business is not hiring an equal amount of men and women (but feminist would most likely want it all women) but to hire the best people for the job, gender only plays a part in it when your installing toilets
You're 100% correct. The higher ups of the company I work for have to maintain a 50/50 ratio. A couple of years back it lead to promote a woman to a function she was totally not adequate for because they needed to fill the ratio. The division she was leading became a total mess & she was fired eventually. >_>
 

Deshin

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My old college had multiple institutes devoted to different fields of study. I was in the IT institute and only between 5-10% of the students were female. Over at the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering blocks the numbers were more like 1-5%. Over in the Business Studies institute it was closer to 50-55% and over in the Hairdressing institute it was 90-95%. It kind of paints a pretty clear picture doesn't it? How can you demand a 50-50 split in the workplace if the fact of the matter is there aren't enough women interested in the field in the first place?

Sampat quickly pointed out that statement was bullshots by citing survey information she gathered by speaking with the women she could find who were either employed in the games industry already or were seeking employment. "45% have said they always want to work in the games industry," Sampat said.
Way to cherrypick the information. You're asking the people who already want to be there. How about just going down on the street and asking women completely at random from all walks of life? Unless the whole point of this was "do *some* women want to work in games?" then yeah, no shit. But if we take a complete look at the numbers of it let's say in the world you'll find 1 million women who want to work in games (number pulled completely out of my ass btw), you'll probably turn around and find x10 that number of men who also want to work in games.

The only way more women will enter into the games industry is through time. Let's be honest, everyone, games have had a massive stigma as "toys" attached to them for decades and as much as we like to think otherwise it's still there; not as bad as it USED to be but it's still there. Arcades, tournaments, midnight releases for consoles, it's all male heavy numbers; are we supposed to just turn our heads and deny what's right in front of us for the sake of political correctness? Another favourite is when they throw around numbers showing how 45% of people playing games are women. Let's take Facebook and Web-based Flash games out of the equation for a minute. How many women are actually investing money to flat out purchase a game for themselves to play? How many women play games because they want to as opposed to "it was there so I played it"? This isn't even something we need a massive study for, hell, go to any game shop and just stand there and watch people buying games.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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When it comes to any "minority" the situation is not just a desire to work in a given industry, it's the number of people with that desire. The truth is 99% of the people who want to do something cool fail in the attempt. Those who want to write comics, do video games, or other similar professions. Likewise when it comes to careers like Doctor, Lawyer, or going into something like Forensics (in my case) the odds are pretty well against you on every level from finances (which got me) to available jobs, to competition. The thing is though that with numbers people of a given type do indeed get through, the question isn't that there aren't any women that want to be game designers, or blacks that don't want to do comics, but that there aren't enough of them for an impact. Frankly the majority of people who want to be comics artists for example just aren't good enough to do it with the right combination of quality, speed, and versatility (since you draw other people's work on commission and have to meet a release schedule, and then eventually work your way up to maybe at some point doing your own stuff). The same basic thing applies to game design. It seems a lot of minorities seem to think "it's biased if there aren't people like me actually doing it" and who like to point to their failures as evidence of that bias, but that's really not the truth. A good example of a breakthrough would be Asians getting into western comics, some of the big artists right now aren't "white", and guys like Jim Lee carried their own labels for a while. That didn't happen overnight though, it came about because tons of Asians wanted to do western comics, looking at the incestuous relationship that already existed between eastern and western culture and comics. Most failed, but a few got into the industry, and from that a few made it to the prestigious positions, this occurred because of very large scale, focused, interest that eventually produced the talents needed to succeed.

Fine "your" little girl wants to be a game designer, chances are she wont make it though, not because she's a girl, but because most people who want to be game designers don't make it... period. What you need to look at is how many other little girls want to do the same thing, and of course as they fail for how may generations that interest remains until you see more and more get through and eventually succeed. Welcome to reality.

The truth of society is that you start out following a dream, wind up with a normal job in the grind of society that you start with thinking "it's temporary" and then look back and realize "wow, it's been 10 years, my life sucks, my dream failed" that is how it is. Sort of like how as a Criminal Justice major I didn't set out to be a bloody security officer (even for a world class casino) yet that is where I wound up. With something like "artistic professions" it's even riskier because they tend to be employable within a rather narrow selection of jobs for which there is high competition from the crazy amount of dreamers that want the same thing. The fall tends to be unusually hard as well, because unemployable skills might lead to you being unemployed, or working a fairly low end job like waitress, or barista and just never move up from that kind of thing unless at some point you decide to retrain and have the
resources to do so. This is by the way also the reality that seriously hits people like actors and aspiring models, and other "beautiful people" who aren't beautiful enough, or just don't have the talents (either real talent, or a talent for self promotion and making the right friends), leading to a lot of those "Hollywood Hell" stories that are so popular in certain circles, especially seeing as there are massive groups of people just waiting to exploit people with those kinds of dreams, more so than other similar artistic industries.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Sep 10, 2008
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BlueJoneleth said:
Easier said than done. I work at the IT department of a press agency & our department only has guys.
We never have a woman apply when a position is open.

When I started studying ICT a decade ago, there were 100 students in our first year.

Two of them were girls.

So there is definitely a lack of interest from women to work in the IT sector.
Can confirm this is the case with multiple examples from both my job as part of the ITS department and my sisters recent (as in shes in her third year) experience studying Computer Science at uni.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Okay gonna have to disagree with some major assumptions she made.

First off with resumes. Sorry but in terms of processing resumes in the coldest sense of the term it first goes through regardless of gender keywords and statements that match the core requirements of the position. As well as if you apply for a position blindly you are still required to prove via the resume since it is a cold application to prove that you are capable of doing the job with previous experience in some sort of capacity.

Even if you apply the warm application via networking that gives a major advantage regardless of gender because it is utilizing the trust of the person who gave you the opportunity to get past the computerized bullshit that takes the humanity out of applications.

As for the cultural fit is "bullshit". You say "cultural fit", I say "being able to get along with your potential superiors, and coworkers". Some of the most uncomfortable workplaces I've seen often stem from having employees who just simply don't get along or are incapable of finding some sort of common ground to get through the daily grind. This also often leads to even if one is the most professional of candidates just lower retention that a person would want to stay in that position or more importantly your peers would want that person to stay with the company. Which also doesn't even include the fact of being able to do the job in the first place. Hard truth is that regardless where you go in terms of employment there is going to be a certain social environment and even then it is a two way street. It is the employer's duty to ensure that you are able to do the job in that environment but at the same time like any good guest it is your duty to understand that environment and be flexible.

But the biggest two things is that even with all these dedicated panels focused on women, dedicated programs to encourage women in certain fields, and massive investments from a wide variety of sources focused on women's education in STEM. The two factors remain which is the freedom of choice of the individual and the equality of opportunity which does not equate to equality of outcome.
 

Smeatza

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So if I have a choice between two potential employees, one passionate about the work, and one only interested?
I should pick the candidate that's only interested?

I'm supposed to believe that just as many women want to work in the games industry as men?
Because I don't.

And she ends the talk by saying that she shouldn't prepare her child to work in the industry they desire, but that the industry should prepare to accommodate for her child?

You know what would be great? If we had world peace, no droughts, no starvation, no disease, no discrimination, no crime, no hate, no violence. Yeah the world would be a better place if it were like that, chop chop people, get to it.
 

Genocidicles

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"If you can't find women who can fit into culture, your company culture might suck,"

Because that will make women welcome in the workplace eh?

Sucking all the fun out of everything wont exactly endear the workplace to the women suddenly working there.
 

TAGM

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Wow, the amount of statistical rubbish spouted here is almost insulting. Well, not the amount, more the egregious nature of it.

Myth #1. Women Don't Want to Work in Games. Sampat quickly pointed out that statement was bullshots by citing survey information she gathered by speaking with the women she could find who were either employed in the games industry already or were seeking employment. "45% have said they always want to work in the games industry," Sampat said.
Congratulations! You've answered a completely unrelated question. So you found a bunch of people already working in the industry and asked them if they always wanted to. Therefore, you've proven that 45% of the people you asked always did. (I assume not literally always, they probably didn't plop out of the womb with keyboard in hand.)

Except we're not saying that the majority of women don't want to and then do, or don't always want to or whatever - we're suggesting that the average (I.E. NOT JUST GAMER) woman on the street isn't interested at all in the industry, and not because of all the men "poisoning" it, either. You can argue until the cows come home that they're only doing it because of the social stigma attached to a nerdy girl, but it wasn't just the guys that perpetrated that, because if it was, I would be expecting a much louder backlash. Most of us see it as a surprise when a girl works in the industry, but we don't see it as evil or anything.

Sorry, loosing track, getting into arguments that don't seem to have a proper answer besides the ones you want from what I've seen thus far, never mind, next bit:

"If you are in an interview with a candidate stop looking for lifelong desire but instead look for curiosity," Sampat urged.
Well now you're just suggesting making dramatic changes under the impression that you'll get 10% more females working, while deciding that lifelong dreams and study and whatever obviously aren't as good as random levels of curiosity! Well I can't see any way THIS will go wrong.

"Do blind resume reviews and you'd be amazed how many women filter to the top," Sampat said.
You can't just say "Oh, yeah, trust me, I saw this experiment and the results are exactly what I say!" Without, you know, proving the fucking experiment exists.
(Well, Ok, evidently you can, but good luck getting anyone who knows even the smallest bit about the scientific method and burden of proof to agree with your complete nonsense without asking for more evidence then just your hearsay.)

She makes her daughter write one sheet specs of the games she wants to make and forces her to be as driven as a young lady can be.
"I would do anything to shield her from the kinds of things that I've been through," Sampat said. "But I am part of the problem. Every time I worry about making her tougher, instead of making the industry gentler, I am complicit. I am ready to stop. Are you?"
Remember, kids: Fuck hard work! Just demand that the work become softer or else you won't do it! That will not in any way go wrong at all. Definitely not.

And if I sound angry, it's because I Am ever-so-slightly angry that someone could cock up statistical evidence this badly and be given anything other then a withering glance and an "Oh really now?", Man OR woman. At the very least if she just made an emotional appeal I wouldn't feel insulted by the astounding levels of ignorance she managed to get away with. I'm not going to ask her to go away or anything. But someone, please, teach her how to run a proper experiment before she embarrasses herself further.
 

Doclector

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Seems like a lot of rather obvious stuff here. Still, ain't stating the obvious that's the problem. It's getting people to agree that the obvious is a problem and steps should be made to solve it. Few issues though. As someone who wants to work in a creative field, I'd be far happier to hire someone obsessed than merely curious. And who's to say that women aren't among the obsessed? If there were no obsessed women, we wouldn't be having this discussion, because nobody would care enough to fight their corner over this.

I'd also like to believe that "the invisible bias" isn't as farspread as she wants us to believe, but I also know that people can be en-masse assholes at times, so I remain on the fence.

In any case, we need to make sure we're solving the issues whilst not getting into the ridiculous territory where a woman gets hired over a man not simply because she'd be better for the job, but merely to fill a quota. That would be bad for everyone, regardless of industry position or gender.
 

Davroth

The shadow remains cast!
Apr 27, 2011
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Does anyone ask men to make games with them? Does anyone ever ask anyone to make a game with them? Is that how the entry into the games industry works?

I would suggest all of those potent, under-appreciated female game designers should take to Kickstarter, present their project, and they'll likely end up with enough money to finish that project and then some. Because there's clearly people who would put their money behind it.

Not being cynical here. I'd like to see that happen, since I don't believe the video game company culture will develop in a way that will accommodate those female game designers.
 

Mister Chippy

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Genocidicles said:
"If you can't find women who can fit into culture, your company culture might suck,"

Because that will make women welcome in the workplace eh?

Sucking all the fun out of everything wont exactly endear the workplace to the women suddenly working there.
You know, one reason why women might not want to work in games might be because when someone says "If your culture makes women feel uncomfortable you might have a problem." the response is "But making women not feel uncomfortable sucks all the fun out of everything!"
 

3ntropy775

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Feb 24, 2012
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I'm honestly extremely tired of the whole gender war. In the Gaming/IT sector as a whole there is a lack of interest from females. People should stop blaming patriarchy for everything. They are polarizing the community even more. I'm not denying the fact that there are isolated cases where gender discrimination isn't involved, but it's really not that prevalent and overblown as people make it out to be. Gender discrimination will always persist for both genders everywhere, which doesn't justify it, but it not only affects them.

Why would a recruiting company decline a perfectly competent applicant based on gender? People can't seriously expect them to recruit incompetent staff just based on unbalanced demographics. It is male dominated because we were the gender who showed enough interest in the hobby to carry it forward. They were never denied access to the gaming community, but instead invited. So now that they've decided that it's socially acceptable to play games, they expect that the red carpet should be rolled out?

If you have the skills and experience you will be treated fairly. Respect is earned, not demanded anyway.