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Professor Jennifer Jenson: Video game industry needs more women

Professor Jennifer Jenson: Video game industry needs more women

Few mainstream video games are made – or marketed – with women in mind, even though nearly 40 per cent of video game players in the United States and Canada are female, wrote the Toronto Star March 4, in a story about two Vancouver women who own a game development company. The likely reason? Few women are actually designing the games, wrote the Star:

“If you look at other cultural industries, they don’t have nearly the growth curve that games have had in the past few years,” says Jennifer Jenson, professor of pedagogy & technology at York University [Faculty of Education] and president of the Canadian Game Studies Association. “When almost 75 per cent of women work, to not have them somehow represented in this workforce is excluding them from something that has had massive investment from all these different countries.”

Jenson, who spent more than 10 years studying gender and gaming, found one of the reasons a girl might not break into gaming is access. “Girls don’t often have the context for play that necessarily includes other girls. They may play with their brothers, cousins or fathers.”

“Girls and boys – once they level up – [are] exactly the same,” says Jenson. “Because the game demands that you play a certain way in order to be successful. Once you get rid of the confounding variable of being novice in these environments, girls play very much like the boys.”

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.