Sexism in the game industry is not what is holding the sector back in gender equality, EA’s chief talent officer has claimed.
Speaking in a Forbes blog piece, Gabrielle Toledano said that although sexism and harassment was not something to take lightly, it is not the key factor to overcome in getting more women into game development.
She explained that the idea that sexism was driving women away from development is misguided, and the solution starts with women being confident enough to enter the industry and overcoming any preconceptions of a male-dominated sector, and realise that “the sky is the limit” when it comes to career opportunities for women in games.
Toledano added that although publishers like EA were keen to hire more women, there currently weren’t enough of them to hire, highlighting engineering in particular as a problem area.
She said that the game industry and the technology sector at large needed to support to educational instituations working to encourage women to pursue STEM careers.
“The issue I have is that the video game industry is being painted as more sexist than other male-dominated workforces,” she said.
“I know sexism exists, but the issue isn’t just in video games. And it’s not what’s holding us back. Nonetheless, there are still too few women working in my company, so it’s clear there is an issue to fix. Rather than blame the majority just because they are the majority, I believe the solution starts with us – women.”
She added: “Sexism is an unfortunate reality of our times, but as women we must seek the power and ability in ourselves to change the dynamic. Cast aside the preconceptions, and look for the opportunities and places to make an impact. And I can tell you firsthand that in the video game industry women are not just welcome, we are necessary and we are equal."
A number of developers in the game industry have spoken out on “rampant industry sexism” in the past few months.
In November, hundreds of women developers took to Twitter under the has take of #1reasonwhy to vent their feelings over sexism hindering their chances of success in the industry.
Earlier this month, Portal co-creator and Airtight Games creative director Kim Swift also spoke out on the matter, describing the Twitter furore as just “the tip of the iceberg”.
Swift called on women in the game industry to be more visible and outspoken to help improve gender inequality, but admitted this could take up to 20 years.