The computer games industry is missing a trick by ignoring women and girls – and needs to do more to tackle the problem.
That is the view of Eleonora Asparuhova, creative director of Games and Animation at Liverpool Media Academy
Asparuhova argues that plenty of women and girls play games like Fortnite, Call of Duty or Minecraft but are “pretty much nowhere to be seen” if you “walk into the offices of those making blockbuster games”.
Asparuhova cites a recent survey which found that only 22 per cent of the global gaming workforce is female.
“It’s a major problem, and one which the industry needs to do much more to tackle,” she stressed.
“While girls and women may like to play games – despite the popular perception of computer games as a largely male pursuit – they’re not currently getting a look-in when it comes to creating them.
“The reasons for this are complex but – as it so often does – it starts in the classroom.”
Despite years of campaigns encouraging girls into STEM careers, Asparuhova says there is still a perception that technology, maths and science is for boys and humanities are for girls.
“We as a society need to send the message that this isn’t right,” she said.
“And in schools, part of this is about seeing the arts and tech not as two disparate disciplines but as complimentary – especially when it comes to careers in the gaming and digital sector.”
While the education system has a crucial role to play, Asparuhova stressed that the gaming sector itself needs to make more of an effort to welcome them in and keep them.
“All businesses must grow and maintain market share if they’re to survive and at the moment, the industry is quite inexplicably ignoring this huge, largely untapped market,” she said.
“Women play games in spite of the fact that they don’t represent them and other gamers are sometimes hostile.
“Imagine how much bigger this market – and the profits – could be if the industry was actually making some semblance of an effort to speak to them?”