Whether software programming, web development, or data science—the tech industry is male-dominated. As a whole, the tech industry is over 70% male. Not only do women up a meager 26% of the tech industry, but even less of them hold managerial or executive positions. In software programming alone, men are 92% of the workforce. Stats like these would lead anyone to believe that tech is just a male thing. That there is no place for women. This goes double for women in game development.
Women in Tech
Since women make up less of the population in the tech industry, it is easy to assume that this means they are less interested. Or that they have less aptitude for it. Especially given the trope that girls are bad at math. James Damore, the Google engineer who penned the now infamous memo, would agree that tech is no place for a woman.
In reality, it’s all marketing. Back in the 60s and 70s, women were at the helm of tech innovations. As Hidden Figures—the book and the movie—shows, women were responsible NASA’s successful run. In fact, back then, programming was seen as women’s work, much like anything domestic. But then came the 80s and personal computers. PCs were nowhere near as powerful then as they are now, but the fact that they were marketed towards young boys put it squarely in the realm of a male thing. Girls were no longer encouraged to pursue tech-y things, and edged out the sphere in which they used to joyfully frolic. As a result, programming and gaming were now seen as the pastime of boys.
But girls were still interested. According to GirlsWhoCode.com, 66% of elementary school girls are interested and enrolled in computing programs. By the time they get to high school, the number drops to 32%. It drops even further to 4% by freshman year. Girls are not supported in STEM as much as boys are. And to make matters worse, the lack of women in the tech industry gives girls the wrong idea that they do not belong there.
Research out of the Pew Research Center shows that “men and women are equally likely to assume that most video game players are men.” And this opinion is shared by gamers and non-gamers alike.
Women in Game Development: Players and Programmers
Though the numbers are small, there are still women in game development. Women are gamers, developers, entrepreneurs. Compared to 15% of boys under 18 years, women over 18 make up 33% of gamers. According to Pew, women make up half the total number of gamers.
Women like Jane Ng, Brianna Wu, Megan Gaiser, and Laralyn McWilliams are developing games, founding companies, and starting conversations about the male-centeredness of the gaming world. There is still a long way to go, but women are starting to change the culture of the gaming world which has been notoriously bro-centric. Currently, women in game development are 22% (compared to 75% men), but their impact is profound.
Women in game development are helping to change the culture of the gaming world and the tech industry. There is still a long way to go, but women in game development have made strides in advancing gender equality in the industry and the games as well. The lucrative and entertaining field of game development is not just a male thing. (Despite what Gary Gygax, creator of the popular Dungeons and Dragons, says.)
GDEV Wants to Change the Culture
Here at GDEV, we encourage women to participate in the tech industry as fully as men do. After all, women make up half the population and have needs and ideas just as men do. We especially want to encourage women to take our 3D modeling ad game development course, starting March 12. We are dedicated to being part of the change.
There is space for women in game development. Are you ready to change the culture? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org