At GDC 2013 in San Francisco, a “women in gaming” panel included California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom; chief executive of Women in Games International, Belinda Van Sickle; and Sega’s Patrick Riley; among others. The main topic of discussion, which seems to always be the main topic of discussion involving women in gaming, was the urgency for the gaming industry to feature stronger women in their games instead of the norm – highly-sexualized figures.

Siebel Newsom goes on to say:

“Gamers have the opportunity to think bigger.”

“We have an opportunity in gaming to teach young boys to value women — to not perpetuate these extremes of masculinity.”


The other panelists mention that women only represent about 12 percent in the gaming industry as a whole, a low figure that can also represent the amount of women attending and promoting projects at the Game Developers Conference each and every year. This problem won’t be fixed overnight, said the panelists as they agreed more young girls need to be proficient in STEM family of subjects {science, technology, engineering, and mathematics} before seeing an increased diversity in the industry.

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The main issues presented are not just one large issue but multiple issues that not only affect the gaming industry but entertainment and our culture equally. Video game creators mimic the culture that is past and present. In our culture, the phrase “It’s a man’s world” is not paraphrasing what we see but also represents most of how the world operates. Therefore in entertainment and education, this is reflected. To change one sector of the entertainment industry means to change the whole entertainment field. The only way to achieve that success is to change culture. How can our culture change? By changing the very institutions we are bred into from birth.

That is the deeper issue but what about the smaller issue of numbers? Are women truly encouraged to study STEM? No. The gaming industry itself is still regarded to non-industry fields and non-gamers as a hobby people get “into” and not looked upon as a sought-after career, therefore men nor women are truly encouraged to go after the field.

How has the gaming industry included the LGBT community? It hasn’t because its focused on trying to include more women instead of just including all sexes, all nationalities, all personalities in their games.

Can more women in gaming fulfill the lack of quality of female characters? The notion that “it takes women to write or entertain women” is certainly unrealistic. Writing or entertaining women is not exclusive to just women just as writing or entertaining men is not exclusive to just men. It comes down to understanding personalities, morals and values. Then comes understanding our pure nature – sex, love and how we choose to live.

Humans keep classifying themselves into more obscure pieces, trying to become “perfect” in a way, yet always fail because its not necessary to be happy. Until the realization that we are one people comes, all industries will lack the diversity needed to represent the people and we will continue having these discussions.