Why Are There So Few Female Game Creators? The Internet Responds

I love  Twitter sometimes. When the 140-character “mini-blogging service” was still the newest thing, I certainly didn’t expect it to be a source for breaking news from citizen reporters, a call to arms for social reformers or a forum for public debate. Yet it seems to do those things better than any other social media platform. Last week, tabletop game designer and Kickstarter employee, Luke Crane, asked a simple question, “Why are there so few lady game creators?” I wonder if he was expecting the avalanche of responses he got.

Responders quickly created a hashtag, #1ReasonWhy, and this became a banner around which women game industry rallied, coming forth to share the crap they’ve had to deal with in a male-dominated field. Here are a few of the responses:

Every post-release positive review I’ve seen of games I’ve designed/published has couched praise for it/me in sexual innuendo. #1reasonwhy

Because men with a tenth of my experience and expertise feel they can condescend to me. #1reasonwhy

Because my favorite professor (male) had to apologetically lecture me on how to deal with harrassment WHEN it happened, not IF. #1ReasonWhy.

This last tweet, just a few hours old at the time of this writing, will sound familiar to any number of women breaking into new professional ground. Three decades ago it may have been advice for female ad executives, two decades ago, female programmers in Silicon Valley. You’d think we’d be past this, but we’re just not. Stories of sexual harassment at science fiction or comic conventions continue to pop up, but the bigger issue is not these sad, socially-awkward men who don’t know how to manage their hormonal longings, but the much larger number of men who jump all over a woman who brings forth a complaint.

The hashtag has already attracted more than a few mansplainers, ignorant of their own selection bias, drawing on the power of faulty logic and made-up statistics to back up their conspiracy theory that women just like to complain. I’m not overly fond of the aphorism, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” In this case, though, that’s a hell of a lot of smoke.

Yet there’s good news. One hash tag leads to another, in this case, #1reasonmentors, a spontaneous counter-current against the gender discrimination some women have struggled against their entire time in the industry, be they designers, testers, artists, journalists or what have you. If I were a woman in gaming, I think I would take a look. And as a gamer myself from way back, I’m up for some fresh perspectives right at the beginning of the design process. Maybe if the industry were a little less homogeneous, concerned parents wouldn’t feel the need to rewrite the game code for the sake of providing daughters with a hero they can relate to.


Related stories:

13 Ways Females are Underrepresented, Stereotyped and Sexualized On Screen

6-Year-Old Girl Calls Out Board Game for Being Sexist

Taking Atheism To The Next Level


Image credit: Wiki Noticia

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Navpreet K.
Navpreet K.2 years ago

This is very interesting to see that women are not respected in the game industry. I hope that there will be a time when no industry is gender dominated.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

women can do anything. And to say men wouldn't buy a game a woman designed is ignorant. When you are ten, or 15, or 20, you don't base what game you want to play on who the designers are. Idiots

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Nils Lunde


Lika S.
Lika S.2 years ago

I highly doubt if men would be interested in playing a game that a woman worked on to make it better. Since women, at least us grown women, who are raising children, working, and taking care of elderly parents are too busy for games, we don't buy them, while I know many a grown men who are addicted to video games.

Thing is, if men put in as much time to their families as women do, maybe the divorce rate would be a whole heck of a lot better.

So, unless my job IS to create games, I barely have enough time to play them, much less develop them.

char l.
Past Member 2 years ago

Not trying to spam anyone here, and I get nothing out of this! But some of us were talking about the old Adventure games, Myst and Riven. The whole collection of Myst games (except Exile, the rights to which belong to a different publisher) are on sale at GOG.com this weekend. The older games are $2.39 each, the later ones $3.99 each. They are downloadable, and the site is safe - I buy games there all the time.

These are games with gorgeous art, mind-bogglingly difficult puzzles to solve, and absolutely no violence, no sex. No shooting, just exploring, observation, and logic. You cannot "die" in these games unless you do something incredibly stupid, and you will realize what those things are, LOL. When you get stuck, and you will, the Universal Hint Site (UHS) will give you some clues.

Try it - you might find it isn't what you thought it was, and it's cheaper than a Starbucks coffee. ;o)

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen2 years ago

Vince M., geee thanks. now I'm going to go into a gender identidy fit (again)

Jesica De Beer
Jen de Beer2 years ago

I agree with you Vince. Woman have more important things to do like finding a better cure for cancer, HIV/AIDS, solving the problems of growing food in space and colonising space, to name just a few.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

Thank you for the information.

Isabel Araujo
Isabel Araujo2 years ago

Thank you for the article.