“Why are there so few lady game creators?” Crane Tweeted.
Filamena Young took this question as an invitation to start a movement on Twitter, and responded to the question with a hashtag — #1reasonwhy — causing Twitter to implode with insightful, distressful, harrowing, and downright disturbing reasons why there are so few “lady game creators.”
Speaking to Polygon, Crane said he didn’t expect the question to get much of a response. “No one responds to my tweets. I didn’t expect this tweet to be any different.” Crane works as the project specialist for Kickstarter, where he noticed the imbalanced ratio of women to men creators submitting games. “I assumed that there would be a better gender balance in submissions,” said Crane to Polygon. “It’s unfortunate that there’s not.”
The story moved from tabletop gaming developers, to videogame developers and then to videogame journalists, who had their own grievances with the misogynist mentality of the games culture in general.
“Because I’m sexually harassed as a games journalist, and getting it as a games designer compounds the misery,” tweeted Lillian Cohen-Moore.
The story quickly expanded, with coverage on CNN, NBC and TIME, among other non-gaming outlets.
Some telling statistics were brought to surface. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 47 percent of U.S. gamers are women, while a 2011 survey by Game Developer magazine showed under 11.5 percent of game industry employees were made up of women. What’s more, these women’s salaries tend to range from 67 to 90 percent of their male counterparts.
It’s been a long time coming, but the awareness of the plight of women in gaming has finally reached a fever pitch, in no small thanks to the power of social networking. All that’s left is for us as an industry to ensure that women are treated fairly and that their voices have as much potential in the games space as men currently enjoy.
For more on the topic, I’ve taken the time to put together a comprehensive Storify post including the best tweets and articles written around the #1reasonwhy hashtag. Check it out here.