There's a quiet little revolution happening on Twitter right at this moment. It's kind of sad and awesome all at the same time, and it's well worth tuning into if you want to discover the kind of hurdles and discrimination women in the games industry have to put up with.
The #1reasonwhy hashtag started popping up yesterday, having been kicked off by Filamena Young, a pen and paper game designer and writer. I was put onto the trend by local games writer Jessica Citizen, from Player Attack, when she tweeted: "Oh, wow. Want to know why there are so few ladies in the games industry? Take a look at #1reasonwhy. *sad*"
Following the tags now, I can understand the sad - it's depressing seeing the kind of crap that women go through in the industry. I daresay it's true of many workplaces, to be honest, but seeing this outpouring of emotion and honesty in my own field is... Well, it's sobering. But also very powerful, in that it's sharing and opening up the entire process.
Here are some of the thoughts, from men and women, being shared from around the world:
"worried that answering things like this will hurt my career"
"When I come home from a professional game dev conf, I have bruises on my arms from men stopping me from walking away from them"
"When learning 3D modelling, I chose to make a muscular, fully armored female warrior. My male teachers/mates all disapproved."
"Women represent less than 10% of the writers I have published, yet have received more than 90% of the hate mail."
Of course, as with any discussion on matters like this, it's drawn more than a few people who vociferously disagree with the issue. @N3ight probably represents the backlash almost perfectly with this: "Give me #1reasonwhy anyone should give a shit about pandering to women in this industry."
But while following the hashtag is sad and sobering, there's also been much positive movement. #1reasontobe and #1reasonmentors have sprung up to offer positive reinforcement and solid advice for women in the industry.
As an overall discussion, it's immensely important, and worth following for anyone passionate about gaming and the games industry. If you've ever thought the notion of sexism in gaming to be a non-issue, please have a look at this discussion. Become involved, and let's see if we can all learn something, and make gaming a better place - for all of us.