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November 28th, 2012, 16:02
I sent you to Twitter, and perhaps to the Web in general because there IS loads of evidence. And I will use 'evidence' rather than 'objectively true' … but will NOT drop to 'appearance', because there is simply too much evidence to ignore.

Gaming is male oriented because early computers and engineers were ALL male - not because they were better or smarter than their female peers, but because pretty much every society in the world has a structure in which engineer-like work is considered 'unlady-like'.

It is pretty simple sociology - people cast the world in their image. The corporate executive 'old boys network' existed because society backed males (and in the western world, white males) and they chose their friends and people who looked like them. Same in tech fields - it is simply a comfort thing … and this is proven well enough through the decades.

Gamers and game developers are not a special breed pro or con - because when put into an predominantly male environment there are different norms that exist than in a truly mixed environment. Add to that the work environment fostered in the overwhelming majority of game shops (informal, described as 'frat house' by many), and you can easily see why there would be an implicit barrier to entry for women.

There are plenty of examples where imbalance is self-perpetuating, where men entering an office dominated by women see it as a dream initially but find the environment quickly very difficult to navigate.

BUT … and this is a HUGE but - it is FACT that the entire world is 'male dominated'. The arab world is extremist in this to the point that women are often property of their fathers or husbands, but women are always the lesser. Women earn less, have fewer opportunities, and are legally discriminated against in much of the world. So citing one tiny niche against a multi-billio $ industry doesn't even qualify as a counter-argument.

In more and more fields, as attitudes in western countries normalize we are seeing much better levels of women in industry. Engineering/Science schools that were 10:1 male/female when I was looking at schools 30 years ago are now 2:1 or better. And there are loads of engineers and scientists in high-profile positions that I interact with - and speaking at a technical conference is no longer looking out at a 'sea of men' like it was just 20 years ago.

However … the gaming industry has not kept pace. It is an anomaly and recently a number of folks have been speaking up and trying to figure out why. The basic answer is that it is NOT about the women - after all, these are just design and programming jobs - but instead about the male-centric attitudes and environments at development shops.
-- Mike
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