Re-figuring Innovation in Games to tackle lack of diversity in games at university course level | PCGamesN

Re-figuring Innovation in Games to tackle lack of diversity in games at university course level


An international research project named ReFiG has been set up by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada to investigate and advise on the topic of diversity within games. They plan to tackle not only the industry itself and the culture that surrounds it, but the ways in which minorities - particularly women - are encouraged or excluded by education programs and in-routes. It's running until 2019 having had its inaugural event last year, and the involved organisations are expanding.

Dr. Alison Harvey of the University of Leicester's Department of Media and Communication is now co-leading the formal education branch of ReFiG, and had this to say regarding the project and her involvement:

"Women and girls have largely been excluded from games culture − as players, makers and protagonists. Additionally, many of those who do participate in games have been publicly harassed both online and offline as exemplified by the ‘Gamergate’ hate campaign.

“Addressing long-standing gender inequalities in the global digital games industry is a vital means by which to stimulate innovation and sustain the growth and consolidation of this massive creative arena.

“This project recognises that these issues can only be tackled through the inclusion of a range of international and interdisciplinary partners thinking about and planning to create equity in games culture, education, and work.”

Her first area of focus will be a study of UK-based higher-education programs that tackle game design and studies, with UoL's official mission statement being "To make an intervention in how these programmes are promoted and organised to foster more inclusive game design training, through consultation with educators, students, skills bodies, professional associations, policy-makers, and industry representatives."

Leicester is just one of twenty partners with ReFiG, which is headquartered at the York University in Canada. Their official site is packed with information regarding the different areas they plan to tackle and how. Along with university programs, they'll also be studying the games industry itself and what it produces. They plan to investigate how women are treated in the work place, why only 4% of programmers are women and how that affects the output. Naturally, how that output then influences those who become interested in games and how the culture develops is another large part of the study.

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Anakhoresis avatarPIRATEorNINJA avatarBen Barrett avataryeye avatarFattox avatar
Anakhoresis Avatar
2 Years ago

I'm curious where all these studies originate from. If only because it doesn't seem like that much of a surprise, because at least where I grew up, girls weren't interested in programming/math. Not because they were ever turned away from it, they just didn't find it an interesting subject. It's kind of like asking why more men aren't nail technicians.

Also, as much talk as there is about how men push women away from careers, I don't ever see it brought up how women will push women away from careers. A girl I knew while growing up actually did really like math, but all the girls in our grade ostracized her for it.

I feel like these studies are a bit silly, in all.

Fattox Avatar
2 Years ago

I'm currently self-studying with online materials to become a WebDev. It's as open to me as it is to any woman, but a lot of stuff you read these days would make you think there's a "no gurls allowed" sign on the door.

I can't believe the reason that there was only 5% women on my IT degree, was due to anything other than women picking other courses, considering there were/are more women than men at uni these days.

They're obviously at uni, just choosing different subjects. And there should be absolutely nothing seen as "wrong" about that. People shouldn't be obsessed with trying to shoehorn women in to male-dominated subjects, when it's a case of free-will more than anything.

yeye Avatar
2 Years ago

No initiative in the world is going to make more women go into STEM fields if the women don't want to go into those fields of their own free will.

Tradition is a dirty word in academia I guess, but there ain't nothin wrong with women doing whatever they please with their lives, even if it means only 10% or less programmers will be female.

Just make a quota for men and don't let any extra boys join a CS program until they bring a woman with them. Problem solved. Oh, that's an insane idea? So is claiming women don't go into STEM 'cause someone called them a bad name on the internet.

2 Years ago

Did you mean Equality? equity is a term used in financing lol. not the same thing at all

Ben Barrett Avatar
2 Years ago

Dictionaries would disagree with you