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Women in Games' new guide hopes to tackle gender underrepresentation and "dysfunctional work cultures"

Building a Fair Playing Field
Women In Games

Women in Games has published a revised guide with 150+ pages of “information, inspiration, resources, first-hand accounts, case studies, recommendations, and more” for companies interested in “engaging with, and advancing, gender equality and wider diversity and inclusion”.

The organisation – which is self-described as “activists” that believe “getting more women into games and esports should be a national, international and strategic priority” – says Building A Fair Playing Field “is very specifically focused on gender, it encompasses wider intersectional issues of inclusivity and diversity, and can be used to address them at every level”.

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Written by Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman and Women in Games education & research consultant Sharon Tolaini-Sage, the guide hopes to address persistent wide scale issues of gender inequality, highlight the role of leadership in achieving fairness, provide inspiration for companies and individuals, and encourage and enable change.

It says the guide is needed as there is an “urgent need for change” given women remain “significantly underrepresented in the games industry” and the “well-publicised controversies around dysfunctional working cultures in the games industries add to the urgency for change”.

“The world has changed since the 2018 publication of the first Women in Games Guide,” said author and Women in Games CEO, Marie-Claire Isaaman. “Covid-19 and its continuing aftermath has brought uncertainties, but this has also brought huge opportunities for driving positive change. Global working practices, and particularly the games industries themselves, are being transformed, and this Guide sets out to bring new impetus for gender equality and fairness.

“The Guide is part of our aligned efforts to take actions in support of the UN’s SDG’s, particularly number 5, Gender Equality. And integral to a larger portfolio of work within our 5 spaces of action: Industry, Education, Policy Community and Culture. This supports our mission to create new platforms, pathways and synergies that bring together agents of change, advocates, men and boys, champions, experts, grass-roots organisations and others, for new dialogues focused on shared solutions towards fairness and equality for all.

“This is a moment when integrating practical steps in every area to bring about gender equality is not just fair, it is achievable.”

The guide can be downloaded free of charge at the official website.

In related news, a new report has detailed instances of sexual harassment at Nintendo of America, and a working environment where some women – particularly contract employees without full-time employment – felt pressured into silence.

In response, Nintendo has issued a statement to employees from company boss Doug Bowser confirming that the company is now “actively investigating” the claims.

“We have strict policies designed to protect our employees and associates from inappropriate conduct and expect full compliance with these policies by all who work for or with [you],” Bowser wrote. “We have and will always investigate any allegations we become aware of, and we are actively investigating these most recent claims.”

The report builds on allegations reported in the past about a divide between Nintendos full-time and contracted staff, the latter of whom enjoy fewer perks and lack job security. Now, women who worked as contract employees have come forward to discuss some of the issues they faced in particular, such as instances of sexual harassment and unequal pay.

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