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Equality in the games industry: how to encourage women to level up

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Marie-Claire Isaaman

CEO, Women in Games

Women and girls continue to face abuse and toxicity in the games industry itself and online spaces. To stop this, there are steps we need to take.

The games industry is full of entertainment and innovation. Yet, beneath its polished exterior lies an undercurrent of pervasive harassment and abuse directed at women and girls. This issue is neither new nor exclusive to games, but its prevalence in both the industry and online spaces is a concerning stain on our community.

Gender issues in the games industry

From the workplaces where games are developed to the platforms where they’re played, women continually face an onslaught of discrimination. If left unchecked, we not only alienate half of our potential audience and talent pool, but we also condone a culture that contradicts the very essence of gaming — which should be inclusive, diverse and welcoming.

Women continually face an
onslaught of discrimination.

How to stop discrimination against women in games

Comprehensive reporting systems: Gaming platforms and companies must provide easily accessible and effective reporting mechanisms for abuse. These systems should be transparent, and there should be a clear indication of the actions taken against offenders. They should show that the gaming community has zero tolerance for harassment.
Educate from within: Game companies can hold regular workshops to address and educate employees about the nuances of gender discrimination. Understanding the issue is the first step to combating it.
Encourage diverse hiring: A diverse team brings different perspectives, experiences and solutions. Encouraging and actively seeking a diverse pool of talent will naturally foster a more inclusive culture.
Develop anti-harassment tech solutions: Technological interventions, like improved chat filters, can be implemented to immediately flag or block certain derogatory phrases or threats. It can be an effective first line of defence against harassers.
Celebrate women in games: Elevating and celebrating the accomplishments of women in the industry — whether developers, streamers or players — can not only inspire others but also challenge the false notion that gaming is a male-dominated space.
Player accountability: Developers and platforms can implement stricter terms of service regarding harassment. Frequent violators could face permanent bans, loss of in-game assets or even legal actions.

Action towards an inclusive games industry

The road to a more inclusive gaming environment is long, and no single solution will eradicate harassment overnight. But by acknowledging the problem and committing to proactive measures, we can make significant strides toward a better, more inclusive future for the games industry.

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