Misogyny in the Video Game Industry

The video game industry has seen exponential growth during 2020. In this year alone, the industry has grown by 9.3% compared to 2019 (Tech Crunch). With this growth comes a wider audience of gamers and an increase of women in the industry overall. According to Statista, 41% of gamers are women. Though this is progress with diversifying the type of people who consume games, there is still not much diversity when it comes to the developers who make these popular video games. Only 24% developers are women (Statista) and they only stay in the industry for about 3 years on average.  


The lack of women working in the gaming industry has resulted in endemic sexism in the industry. According to Pew Research, women are often denied promotions at higher rates than their male counterparts. In some companies, women are not even allowed to hire other women into positions of leadership. Not only is it common to deny women the ability to move up professionally, it often happens that female employees are sexually harassed by their co-workers or men in positions of power (Center for American Progress).


In 2014, women in the industry began to speak out on social media and other large platforms to raise awareness. The movement was coined “Gamergate”. Around this time, hundreds of women shared their stories of co-workers propositioning them for sexual acts or spouting unwanted sexual language at them.

It is common to see these men only face minimal consequences for their actions. The COO of Riot Games was only suspended for two months and kept his position in the company after his sexual misconduct allegations came to light. Another issue in the gaming industry is “bro culture,” which can sometimes make work environments uncomfortable and even uninhabitable for women. In addition to men in the industry receiving minimal punishment and accountability, the women who speak out are often fired, face public ridicule such as online hate, or even get doxed. 


Even with women coming out and telling their stories, there is still a tremendous amount of change that needs to be done in order to protect women in the industry. So, what are some things that can be done to end endemic sexism in the gaming industry? 


Effective punishment for offenders 


Men who are accused of sexual misconduct should face a thorough internal investigation, not only from their company but also from law enforcement. If there is a substantial amount of evidence stacked up against a person, they should receive serious consequences such as losing their jobs or even facing charges. 




There is no official union in the gaming industry. Many people have been pushing for unionization for years but to no avail. According to the GDC report, over 50% of people in the industry wanted a union to be established. The benefits of enacting an official union is that workers will be able to fight back against unfair treatment with the support of their fellow game developers. Unionization will allow for real systemic change to occur. 




The biggest thing that companies can do is hire people from diverse backgrounds. A majority of people in positions of power are white men. Having a diverse group of people will help break down the culture of misogyny that is so rampant in the gaming industry. By allowing women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to take up space in the industry, people will view gaming as a place that is open to everyone no matter who they are.


Systemic changes to the video game industry are long overdue, and it is only after these crucial changes are implemented that we can finally establish a safer, more inclusive environment for working women in this field.

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