Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett has discussed the impact of her #1reasontobe and #1reasonwhy hashtag campaigns, which called on females working within the games industry to reveal moments where they felt they were being ether harassed or treated with inequality due to their gender, and to raise awareness on the positives of the industry respectively.
Speaking with RPS, Pratchett explained how it felt to be viewed as a leading voice in the gender equality debate, “I’ve really realized in the last year how much being a visible industry female matters to people. Not necessarily as much to myself, or to other female developers already in the industry, but those who are um-ing and err-ing at the side-lines. Hesitant to make the jump, or even try to”.
Since then Pratchett has given talks at schools to show females that the industry is not a walled fortress for men only, and that there is a place for them as equals. But rather than focus purely on the negatives of gender equality, the writer stressed that the industry also needs to be celebrated for the wondrous thing it is.
“If we’re ever going to change the gender balance of this industry – which I think is the main thing that’s really going to help the situation – then we need to emphasize the positives, as well as being honest about the negatives,” continued Pratchett.
“The problems highlighted by #1reasonwhy were shocking, saddening and predictable in equal measure. It doesn’t matter how ‘special’ your industry is, there’s no excuse for some of the sheer asshattery which that hashtag revealed. However, maintaining a sense of perspective is vital. Yes, it’s important to talk about the fight, but it’s just as important to remember what we’re fighting for.
“The main reason why I started #1reasontobe is because I believe that raising awareness of what a great industry this can be, and what opportunities there are for men and women alike, is fundamental in tackling these problems.”
Although Pratchett’s #1reasonwhy campaign threw up some appalling examples of gender equality and an embarrassingly negative reaction from some male commentators, she agreed that there is change in the air, and that the industry needs to continue enlisting women into its ranks.
Pratchett added, “The best weapon against sexism in the games is to get more skilled women into the industry, keep them there and generally level the playing field.”
Where do you sit on the whole gender equality issue? Is enough being don to redress the balance or is there still a long way to go? Let us know below.