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Gender – Future Of Gaming For My Daughters

Gender – Future Of Gaming For My Daughters

Gender – Future Of Gaming For My Daughters

This weekend many of my social feeds were filled with various posts, images and discussions regarding International Women’s Day, which is celebrated in many countries of the world on March 8.

In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women%27s_Day)

I am a father to wonderful twin daughters who have a passion for gaming and many things geeky. This got me to reflecting on the past few years which have had numerous highly publicized controversies regarding women in geekdom, especially Gamergate, anti-harrasment policies for geek conventions, and gender equality in the comics industry.

As a parent, I want my daughters to have all the opportunities in the world to pursue their interests and passions. I am encouraged when I watch things like Emma Watson’s speech to the United Nations and the subsequent success of the HeForShe Movement. How do we take such direction and apply it to our gaming hobby and industry? I have worked with some amazing women in the game industry like Sarah Newton and Lynne Hardy, so watching them encourage women in gaming thrills me.

In the shadow of International Women’s Day, I want to encourage all of us in the game hobby and industry to mull over some very serious questions:

How do we encourage and support our daughters and wives with their love of gaming and all things geek?

How do we build a game industry that is open to our daughters and the females in generations to come?

How do we encourage and support the women already involved in the game industry?

I do not claim to be an expert, nor do I feel I have the answers to these serious questions. I do know I am a father of daughters who cares deeply for their future in gaming, and I am interested in opening a dialogue on this topic.

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5 thoughts on “Gender – Future Of Gaming For My Daughters

  1. David Miller

    It all starts with each person taking responsibility for their actions and taking a moment to stop and think about what they say and do. Particularly online where the veil of anonymity allows some to say things that they never would face-to-face.

    That’s a tough one but as members of these communities, like the board gaming community, it is all of our responsibility to be ambassadors of what is right.

    If I see someone being disrespectful, it’s my job to gently point that out. Sure, many trolls will continue to be dorks but if the rest of us take on these roles, then we can make a difference.

    I believe it was last year at a big tech conference in Australia where there was a coding challenge that resulted in incredibly “off color” presentations being made and there was a 12 year old girl in the audience. Certainly not every single person there thought what was going on was okay. It would have only taken one “brave” person to stand up and challenge it and I’m certain it would have stopped.

    I commissioned an artist to do a piece and I only know them by an online name and can’t tell if they are female or male. And it does not matter at all to me.

    Gender should have very little to do with opportunities and success.

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      You stated it best with your summary, “Gender should have very little to do with opportunities and success.” Sadly, I think we need to consciously make the effort to be open minded and open hearted. Too often, it is the natural reactions and behaviors of people from years of always being and acting that way. We have to purposely choose as a community and individuals to show greater respect for each other and ignore gender as an obstacle. And as you say, we have to be willing to be “brave.” My daughters and I often discuss their experiences at school, at youth events, and after game conventions. How people react to them when they show interest in or knowledge of games can be disheartening at times. I encourage them to be brave and thus continue to change the “perceived status quo.”

  2. Laura VanArendonk Baugh

    As a girl and a geek, this is obviously a topic important to me. I could provide a slew of ways to get females involved in games and geekery, but here’s the most important thing: treat women like people. Not like “women,” but like gamers, players, fans.

    That doesn’t mean to disrespect them (“but you said not to treat them like ladies!”), but it means that we’re not some weird alien species with which you have to forge some sort of wholly new system of communication. We’re people, just like the male players. And just like the male players, most of us don’t wear Spandex on a daily basis, and just like male players, we prefer to interact with fellow players who aren’t imagining us in Spandex. :) Lay off the sexual jokes at the table, and don’t talk down to us if you wouldn’t talk down to a male player in the same scenario.

    That said, most of my best male friends are gamers and geeks. There are those in the community who really do get it. I have hope for the future!

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      Accepting each others as equals and then respecting that equality are definitely the most important things. If we could all just look at each other as gamers and geeks first that would put us on a good foundation.

      I would also e interested in some of your other “slew of ways”. Share if you would and lets get a dialogue going on them.