Gaming is often perceived as a male-dominated world, and although nearly half of gamers are female, only six per cent of the industry’s current UK workforce is women.
By Hetty Mosforth
Sexism and stereotyping are blamed as the main factors involved in putting girls off from pursuing a career in gaming.
Emma Pickering, a Plusnet employee, described how her school failed to promote careers in the gaming industry for women.
She said, “I had many male friends through high school who have made careers in the gaming industry as well as software-related roles.
“The information on how to do this was not pitched out to the women of my school and I think this is where it needs to evolve.”
Adella Desouza, a marketing executive, made the point that it is hard to promote female participation in an industry that ‘many [women] don’t know exist.’ There are numerous technology-related job roles that are unheard of by the majority of students. Computer programmers, solution architects, software designers, data systems analysts and many other tech-related jobs are not brought up at careers guidance meetings or higher education events.
Little Miss Geek is inspiring the next generation of young girls to change the world through technology. They bring ICT professionals to schools in a bid to promote technology as a viable field of work for girls. As well as professionals, inspirational amateurs like Ólína Helga (a thirteen year old computer programmer) contribute to the Little Miss Geek website.
For those curious about starting a career in technology the blog section of Little Miss Geek contains dozens of first-hand accounts of computing jobs. There is something for everyone, even if computing does not sound like a dream job. Some of the website contributors ended up programming by chance or started out as humanities students.
Laura Paterson, a lead consultant at a software company, wrote about discovering how her ‘brain that was good at writing essays, stories and music was also good at writing code’.
Issues like female computer game characters being made to look attractive, whilst the typical male characters are made to look cool, calm and collected will be tackled as more women take on careers in computer gaming.
There is no set ‘type’ that makes a good ICT employee. Anyone can get involved and challenge the negative stigma attached to women working in the technology sector.
For more information about Little Miss Geek visit http://littlemissgeek.com