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Is gender stereotyping having an adverse effect on career choices in the video/ computer games industry?

By Marian Carr


Figures from Skillset show that a much higher percentage of males join the video games industry then females, in fact only 4% of the industry is female (Skillset, 2009). There are anecdotal reasons put forward for this, yet specific quantifiable reasons, at all stages from Further Education (FE) to career, have not yet been fully explored. This investigation chose FE as the area to study as this is the beginning of 'choice' for most students, after having completed a heavily prescribed school curriculum; further this is an area which has not previously been fully explored.\ud \ud \ud The key findings related to the gendered use of language to justify enjoyment, potential links between the playing of video/ computer games and a career in the industry and terminology in relation to being a 'gamer'. By adopting a subjective approach the results from this study showed a gender difference in 'enjoyment', girls had a more emotive view such as 'likes' and 'fun' whereas boys tended to have a more serious response linking enjoyment to quantifiable reasons such as career. A pattern was also discernable between those who play games as a hobby and those who would be interested in a career in the games industry. It was found that terminology in relation to games needs to be reconsidered; as the present term of 'gamer' does not allow for gendered differentiation when considering the different genres of games.\ud \ud \ud From the findings further research is suggested in several main areas for development. To begin with additional discussions with females on Games courses, as well as courses generally, at both Further Education and Higher Education levels to discern how they 'feel' about their course and if the difference in language is indicative of gendered differences or external pressures such as society. At a wider level this study suggests Games courses need re-evaluating to link to how females learn such as in group activities (Walkerdine, 2007) and developing strategies to include women who can become a marginalised group due to their small number, approximately 5% (HESA, 2010). Finally research in creating a specific terminology linked to gaming to facilitate wider participation and to update the outdated use and definitions of 'gamer' which could be excluding females

Topics: GV, HM, HQ, QA76, T1
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