Scholarly sources and news publications alike state how gaming can improve physiological functions such as motor skills, cognitive functions, creativity, spatial awareness and much more. But this wasn't always the case. Since video games became mainstream in the ‘80s and up until rather recently, the prevailing point of view was that video games was a waste of time and that it was only made for teenage boys. How the tables have turned.

Today, we know for a fact that more than half of gamers are female. Including "social" games, such as Farmville, the image of the average gamer is radically changed. Zynga, the creator of Farmville, states that more than 50% of their players are female. This was reported in USA Today. The same article clearly outlines how "more women play [video games] now than teen boys do". It is clear that the demographics of gamers have changed drastically over the past decade or so, but the industry workforce, the creators of these games, sees a vastly underrepresented female presence.

Gaming companies spearhead efforts to attract female workers

Despite women being the primary gender among gamers, the creators of said games are predominantly male. The UKIE 2019 survey shows that not even 1/3rd of the gaming industry workers were female. However, the gaming companies might have some influence over this trend and some companies are taking initiatives to level the numbers.

Gaming companies are leading an effort to attract more females into the industry. An example is set by an affiliate company for online casinos, who is taking initiative locally to increase women in the gaming workforce. Larger companies are making an effort, too. The UK-based game developer EA Games is actively encouraging women to take on more responsibilities in the gaming industry.

Consumer Demographics - Female gamers

The desire for females to take on jobs in the gaming industry does not represent the target audience. A survey by PopCap Studios, a subsidiary of EA Games, surveyed almost 5000 social gamers in the UK and the US. The average gamer (58% of surveyed) is a 43 year old female, vastly different from what we see in gaming ads. 36% of all gamers are adult women while only 17% are teenage boys. Despite this, there is a large gap between supply and demand as gaming companies tend to market their products to the latter audience.

If most gamers are female, but the majority of games are targeting teenage boys, it's reasonable to assume there might be a desire among female students and graduates to reduce this gap. But the numbers of females seeking a career in gaming (production) does not follow the same trend as consumers. Among British students enrolled in university, the majority of which are female, only 9% of STEM-subject graduates in 2018 were female according to WiseCampaign.org.uk.

Females in the gaming workforce

Statistics from the International Game Developers Association state that 11% of game designers are female, while game programmers are represented by a measly 3%. Perhaps the IT and Tech fields are so underrepresented by women simply due to the "gender equality paradox", and the skewed numbers are a natural phenomenon. Perhaps the reasons are cultural. Whichever reason, these numbers do not mean that there are no prominent women in gaming. Fortune Magazine featured 10 powerful women in gaming production, which serves as a good example, but there are also all-female gaming companies on the rise.

Companies like Her Interactive and Silicon Sisters are founded by females and have all-female staff. Companies like these are slowly on the rise, but is it enough? If the current gender gap is biological, there might not be much any company can do. If the gap is due to societal constructs, then initiatives such as the ones presented here could be used on a broader scale. What is certain, though, is that there is plenty of room in gaming production for females to add their contribution to satisfying the primary consumer demographic.