The stereotype of gamers being majority male couldn’t be further from the truth. 50 per cent of gamers are female. If women make up 50 per cent  of gamers in the UK, why is it that so few – just 22 per cent – are making them?

I believe the problem largely lies in women being hugely underrepresented across the gaming industry and in games themselves.

Women are less likely to see themselves represented in games, represented in games advertising or working in gaming-specific roles.

Although it has increased in recent years, only 18 per cent of characters in games are female. Because of these reasons, women are less likely to pursue an education or career relating to this industry, as the sense of belonging is not present.

Gaming, like the wider tech industry, has a huge cultural issue. For many women pay gaps persist, toxic work culture is pervasive and gender bias plays out daily.

The responsibility for diversifying the games workforce does not fall solely on women applying for positions.

Those in the industry now need to actively commit to making a change. From nurturing the aspirations of young people, to improving their hiring process, gaming companies need to urgently and dramatically change their culture and prioritise inclusivity.

Call to give Liverpool’s gaming sector more attention

The games themselves can play a big role in challenging the biases that hold women back from considering jobs in the industry.

Eradicating the harmful and stereotypical portrayal of females and addressing gender-influenced advertising and marketing, which often caters to young men, could be a huge first step.

We are seeing positive change happening. One of our partners, Avalanche Studios Group for example, has improved their EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) efforts by 40 per cent over the past 12 months.

This includes creating and implementing an EDI strategy, offering unconscious bias training to all hiring managers and investing in a gender neutral language tool. This is just the start for them on their amazing journey.

InnovateHer was recently invited to the Sony offices in Liverpool to speak at a panel hosted by Business & IP Centre Liverpool and Professional Liverpool.

My key takeaway was how the industry has a poor and often unfair reputation as a reputable career, with many people working in the industry being met with the mentality that all they do is ‘play games all day’.

This stigma is particularly prevalent for young girls who do not want to admit they are gamers, let alone consider pursuing a career in the industry.

Liverpool City Region Tech Climbers returns

Part of what we do at InnovateHer is showcase roles, specifically female roles, within typically male-dominated industries creating role models and nurturing aspirations early on in a child’s education. It is so important to provide visibility of the realities of the industry and what a career here could entail, ensuring girls are inspired from a young age to seriously consider a future in tech.

Several studies prove a diverse team creates better outcomes, is more innovative and more productive. The gaming industry needs to ensure they don’t perpetuate a cycle of men creating games for other men who pursue careers in games. We need to make space for women in the room.

We want more women in games. Here are some tips on how to initiate change:

  •  Review your hiring process – are your job descriptions inclusive? Do you adopt a blind 1st stage process? Are you adding in unnecessary qualifications?
  •  Do you have any females working in senior positions? Ask them to share their journeys and experiences both internally or externally
  •  Review your games developer team – is this diverse? If not, have you got a strategy in place to change this?
  •  Involved in the development of characters? Review what these represent and ensure development of characters that represent more people
  •  Need help making your games more diverse? Include your audience! Ask women, people with disabilities and people from different races and backgrounds to evaluate games and make changes based on their feedback.

This is just the beginning and we hope you will take note and create change in your organisation. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do with InnovateHer, please contact me on [email protected]