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

Thursday, 25th 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

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  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 1 year ago
  2. Fin

    Er, more like encourage.

    Need more women in the industry.

    #2 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  5. YoungZer0

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

    #5 1 year 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 1 year ago
  7. YoungZer0

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

    #7 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  10. roadkill

    Wtf!?

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Christopher Jack

    *dbl post, plz delete

    #11 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  15. silkvg247

    So answer my question then.

    #15 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  21. Espers

    another retarded feminist …

    #21 1 year ago