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Labour MP calls on parliament to address lack of females working in UK games industry

Thursday, 25 April 2013 12:20 GMT By Dave Cook

Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Chi Onwurah has called on the Tory government to address the lack of females working in the UK games industry, and feels it should better reflect the diversity of those playing games today.

MCV reports that Onwurah called for action ahead of the yearly International Girls in ICT Day, taking place today. The event invites females from schools and universities to spend time in the offices of ICT companies, as a way of raising awareness of related career paths.

In the Commons, Onwurah heard from the Tory MP for Swindon that 17% of the UK games industry workforce is female, but argued that the percentage is actually much lower, and that action has to be taken.

Responding to the claim, Onwurah said, “It is certainly the case that the video games industry is a modern one. One would hope that it would be reflective of society, including those who play games, but it is not.

“The figures I have for females in the video games industry are even worse than the honourable gentleman’s 17 per cent. Half of the UK’s co-educational state schools send no girls at all to sit A-level physics.

“In 2012, 2,400 female students from the UK went on to full-time undergraduate computer courses, as opposed to over 15,000 men. Between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of technology jobs held by women declined from 22 per cent to 17 per cent.

“My figures show that only six per cent of those who work in ICT in the UK games industry are women, despite the fact that they make up 50 per cent of those who play the games.”

What do you feel about the above? Should games industry roles be marketed in a more diverse way? Does the games industry currently act as if its jobs are just for males? What can be done? Let us know below.

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21 Comments

  1. G1GAHURTZ

    Yeah, let’s force young girls to study physics and IT instead of what they actually want to study…

    Great idea!

    …or not.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Fin

    Er, more like encourage.

    Need more women in the industry.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. G1GAHURTZ

    Why?

    Would you like to be encouraged to study something that you had no interest in because of some politician’s campaign?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. freedoms_stain

    I gotta be honest, I don’t regard percentage of workers in an industry who are male, female, white, black, asian, gay, straight, bi, transgendered, who like marmite, who don’t like marmite, who drive red cars, who drive blue cars and whatever else pointless metric is flavour of the week is worthy of anyone’s attention.

    When I was at school nobody marketed a particular career at me based on my gender, I picked one myself, I assume all the girls did the same.

    Getting into the games industry is notoriously difficult, and you largely have to do it off your own back and prove your ability to the people who have the jobs. No amount of government hand-holding is going to change things for the better in that regard.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    @4: And it never did. Whenever the government tried something like this it backfired.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Rikki

    I think we also need to do this for the Waste Collection industry. They are so sexist with the lack of females in that industry!

    #6 2 years ago
  7. YoungZer0

    @6: Don’t forget police, fire department, miners, people who work on oil-rigs, fishers, etc. They are all discriminating!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. PEYJ

    @ 6 and 7

    Those are actually good arguments. The politician only brings this out as the game industry are becoming more visible to the public.

    Besides, that 50% of all gamers are female seems like a very nice round figure. As in – 50 % of the population are female.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. tramps

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-bgf-jail-indictment-20130423,0,3097270,full.story

    Forced diversity, ladies and gentlemen.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. roadkill

    Wtf!?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Christopher Jack

    *dbl post, plz delete

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Christopher Jack

    I think the entire IT industry is lacking females. I don’t see how that’s a bad thing, I don’t think there’s much discrimination involved but perhaps just a lack of female ambition for IT, maybe they could focus on a campaign encouraging woman but I don’t think it’s unnecessary.

    I certainly don’t believe that there should be financial incentives for woman because that kind of reverse discrimination is also discrimination but instead at everyone else’s expense. In the end it goes down to equality but I think it’s a choice that many womam simply don’t want to work in IT. You could try targeting these reasons but it may lead to a dead end.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. silkvg247

    I wonder what the gender split is for other entertainment industries – TV, film/cinema, writing?

    Do you not think something might be amiss if this is the one entertainment industry with such a small percentage of females? I read replies on threads like this and all I hear are various forms of denial.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. FeaturePreacher

    Here’s a reason why more women aren’t in game development and other things that they try to falsely pin on sexism: stereotype threat. Basically women have the idea that they’re bad at something and then when they make a mistake it reinforces the idea and causes them to get frustrated, leave, and run immediately to sexism anything else they can blame except themselves. To bad they just don’t realize they’re human and they’re bound to make several mistakes just like any one else would.

    Here’s the link if you want to read it or listen to it:
    http://www.npr.org/2012/07/12/156664337/stereotype-threat-why-women-quit-science-jobs

    These reports are done by actual journalist and not whimsical bloggers by the way.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. silkvg247

    So answer my question then.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. FeaturePreacher

    Below is a link about the lack of females in the u.s movie industry. Didn’t want to look for any that pertain to the uk film industry, but I’m sure they’re just a simple search away. This harping on sexism is a popular theme these days.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/stacy-smith/female-directors-writers_b_480848.html

    #16 2 years ago
  17. zinc

    Theirs a distinct lack of male nurses, because men traditionally think of that as a woman’s role.

    Theirs a distinct lack of female programmers, because women traditionally think of that as a nerds job.

    Young girls don’t want to become nerds.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Da Man

    Liberal next gen species, living the dream on the internet, drawing parallels between fundamental differences like gender and tastes in videogames.

    Like anyone actually employed gives a shit.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. YoungZer0

    No, women just tend to favor more social jobs, like nurse, teachers, etc. Men tend to favor more technical jobs, computer programmer, mechanic, etc.

    The influence of society simply isn’t that big when it comes to that.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Cort

    “The most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”" (Ronald Reagan)

    I fear for the future of this country when we have stupid people like this stupid person in parliament.

    The gender, racial and religious etc make-up of the gaming industry reflects the gender, race and religion etc of the people who want to work in the gaming industry. Just like it does in the heavily-dominated nursing sector, you stupid person. Unless of course, you can publish evidence that the gaming industry actively discriminates against certain groups, in contravention of established UK law.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Espers

    another retarded feminist …

    #21 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Watch PC footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from GDC 2015

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new gameplay video available that shows a bit of action from the PC version. The video below was captured from Nvidia’s GDC conference live-stream. Developer CD Projekt RED was on hand to show off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s graphical prowess running on a PC. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • Dying Light: Hard Mode and Ultimate Survivor Bundle out March 10

    Dying Light’s second DLC drop, the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, and the free Hard Mode, have been given a solid release date alongside a new trailer. Dying Light developer Techland has confirmed that the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, the game’s second DLC drop, will release March 10. The DLC is part of the season pass, but will […]

  • Exploration puzzler Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4

    Ether One, the first-person exploration game that puts you in the minds of other people to help change events of their past is coming to PlayStation 4 this year. Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4 this year, developer White Paper Games announced at GDC 2015. A retail version will also be available alongside the […]

  • Larian “murdered” Divinity: Dragon Commander to focus on Original Sin

    Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian talked very candidly about the business side of development and the many unfortunate events that took place for the game to come out as it did. Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke gave a post-mortem on the troubled development of Divinity: Original Sin, and how it managed to overcome all of […]

  • Firewatch probably has the most natural dialogue of any game to date

    Firewatch developer Campo Santo has revealed the first ever gameplay footage of the upcoming exploration game. Firewatch is the first game from super indie studio Campo Santo. The game is set in the Wyoming forests where the player will be exploring the environment and act as a fire lookout. The game features extensive voice-acting as […]

  • White Night launch trailer is a noir thriller trip

    White Night is here, not long after it was revealed and with a mysterious launch trailer. White Night, the black-and-white survival horror set in 1930s Boston, has revealed its launch trailer. White Night is mix of old-school horror, exploration and puzzling solving in an eerie, noir setting. The game’s main mechanic is light. any object […]

  • Free-to-play is “a significant part” of PlayStation’s digital future

    Free-to-play games on PlayStation 4 have seen enough growth that Sony is now considering the model a major part of its future digital business. Sarah Thompson, senior account executive for PlayStation’s free-to-play business said at a GDC panel that Sony has witnessed impressive growth in the free-to-play sector. “We’re really looking at this as a […]

  • Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter documentary releasing free on YouTube

    Broken Age making of documentary Double Fine Adventure will be made available to all. When Double Fine turned to crowdfunding, changing the industry forever, it promised to give an unprecedented look behind the scenes with a professional documentary of the whole development process of Broken Age. That documentary was initially restricted to Kickstarter backers, but […]

  • Gone Home console ports cancelled following Midnight City difficulties

    Gone Home won’t be made available to the console masses after all. Indie hit Gone Home was announced for console release almost exactly one year ago, and we’ve heard absolutely nothing since then. Turns out, that’s because it’s not happening: developer the Fullbright Company confirmed to Eurogamer that the ports have been cancelled. “Our publishing […]

  • Microsoft rang Mojang the day Notch joked about selling

    Minecraft developer Mojang was sold because founder Markus “Notch” Persson made a joke on Twitter. Ever wondered how Minecraft came to be a Microsoft property? It’s actually a pretty great story. Remember when Notch tweeted this? Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for […]

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection matchmaking update rolling out

    Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been updated to help fix its tragic matchmaking. Again. Now almost four months old, Halo: The Master Chief Collection was still pretty broken as of this morning, with rubbish matchmaking and plenty of other issues to go around. 343 Industries is still trying to fix it, and has today […]

  • Nvidia unveils Shield, an Android 4K Smart TV set top box

    Nvidia has named yet another product “Shield” in an attempt to render us all hopelessly confused. The heart of Nvidia’s GDC 2015 press conference was the Shield, a $200 Android set top box launching in May. Apparently the “world’s first 4K Android TV”, the Shield supports 4K content encoded with h.265. The box runs on […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront footage shown behind closed doors

    Star Wars Battlefront is being shown to retailers. Now we want EA to show it to us. Star Wars Battlefront is expected sometime this year, so it’s about time EA gave us a look at DICE’s latest. It turns out that while press and gamers have had to twiddle their thumbs, EA is showing it […]

  • Dragon Age lead creative moves onto mysterious new BioWare project

    Dragon Age creator David Gaider is leaving his baby behind. Dragon Age is a team effort, but Gaider was one of the key creatives behind the franchise, creating the setting of Thedas (which, I was recently amused to learn, is an acronym: “THE Dragon Age Setting”). He was lead writer on all three games and […]

  • Unity 5 available for free with “no fucking around”

    Unity 5 looks amazing, and you can download and faff about with it for free right now. “We’re not nickel-and-diming people. When we say it’s free, it’s free. We’re not charging a royalty, which I think is akin to looking for whales.” Unity Technologies announced the release of the fifth version of its popular, simple, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 may be the end of the series

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 released yesterday, and many fans theorise that it marks the end of the series. Five Nights at Freddy’s developer Scott Cawthon has released a new teaser image on his website, but rather than pointing to a new game, many fans believe the teaser signals the end of the series. The […]

  • Source 2 announced, will also be free

    Valve has formally unveiled Source Engine 2, the third major engine to go free to developers at GDC 2015. Source 2 is the successor to the engine Valve has been using since Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2. Valve didn’t have much to say about the technicalities of this long-awaited release. It is apparently focused on […]

  • SteamVR: Valve’s Lighthouse tech allows you to walk around while playing

    SteamVR’s key differentiator is a piece of tech allowing headsets to connect with other devices for extra accurate, room-scale tracking. Valve has announced a new bit of technology called Lighthouse, which it is making freely available to any hardware manufacturer. Like the extra tracking LEDs on Sony’s updated Project Morpheus, Lighthouse improves the headset’s accuracy, […]

  • Steam Machines, Controller, streaming box to launch in November

    Steam Machines will finally become a reality before the end of the year. Valve’s living room PC systems will release in November, the company announced today. Well, I say Valve’s – the idea behind Steam Machines is that a number of manufacturers will offer variously priced systems. Alienware and Falcon Northwest are among the dozen […]

  • Telltale veterans form new team, announce teen thriller Oxenfree

    Oxenfree is a supernatural teen thriller from some of the team behind Telltale Games’ award-winning adventures. New indie Night School Studios unveiled Oxenfree at GDC 2015. It tells the story of a group of friends who accidentally open a “ghostly rift” at an overnight party on the coast. Night School, which is made up of […]

  • PS4 global sales now stand at over 20.2 million

    The PS4 has sold 20.2 million units worldwide. Sony announced the new PS4 sales milestone at GDC 2015 today. It’s a hell of an achievement and salt in the wounds for Microsoft, which hasn’t updated us on Xbox One sales since it shipped “almost” 10 million back in November last year, and has fallen back […]

  • PS4 VR headset Morpheus out in 2016, capable of 120 FPS – video

    Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus has some impressive grunt. Virtual reality and Morpheus were the heart of Sony’s GDC 2015 presentation today, ahead of its newly announced first-half 2016 comemrcial launch. SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida detailed the headset’s impressive capabilities, notably the fact that it can handle 120 FPS VR games. The PS4 […]

  • Papo & Yo developer making a VR game about dinosaurs

    Some days you write a headline and it makes you so happy that that you have to do a little chair dance, you know what I mean? Papo & Yo developer Minority Media, whom I would personally go to the wall for after they cut out my heart and stomped on it via the medium […]

  • Wasteland 2, Shovel Knight and more in big ole bunch of indies coming to Xbox One

    Xbox One owners are about to receive a pile of great new indie games. At GDC 2015, Microsoft revealed a list of new indie games headed to Xbox One. Some of these titles have already released on other platforms, so it looks like Microsoft has really relaxed the parity clause of ID@Xbox – or perhaps […]

  • Here’s an indie VR game made with Unreal Engine 4

    GDC 2015 is blowing up with indie games, VR and Unreal Engine 4, so here’s a video combining all three. Loading Human is a virtual reality adventure from indie developer Untold Games. It’s in the works for Mac and PC, and Sony has given an early green light for Project Morpheus, too, so expect it […]

  • GTA Online: Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode coming next week

    Heists aren’t the only thing coming to GTA Online next week: players can also expect Adversary Modes, new Daily Objectives and other Freemode activities. GTA Online’s Adversary Modes are new PvP modes which feature a range of competitive challenges and will unlock as players progress through Heists. Here’s a rundown straight from Rockstar: Come Out […]