Lack of female devs 'a cultural issue'

Lack of female devs 'a cultural issue'

By Rob Crossley

July 8th 2011 at 1:21PM

Quinn Dunki says the problem begins at school

Gender imbalance in the games industry is a problem too big to be solved within the sector itself, an independent female developer has said.

Quinn Dunki, who has helped create numerous iPhone titles, said “the only difference between me and my maths-inclined, game-loving friend – who does advanced needlepoint instead of engineering – is that she succumbed to the peer pressure”.

She said gender indifference “is bigger" than a problem the industry can solve itself.

“The outreach needs to go down to the [early] school levels. That's where the research shows girls stop studying maths and science due to pressures from peers and other sources.”

Forty-two per cent of all game players are women, according to recent ESA data. However, it is believed that only one tenth of game developers are female.

Of all respondents to Develop’s salary survey, only 12 per cent were women.

Dunki said if the issue of gender imbalance is attacked now, results will come “in a generation or two”.

“In the meantime, the best thing we can do is provide role models. If you're a female engineer or scientist, put yourself out there,” she added.

Earlier in the week, LucasArts creative director Clint Hocking suggested that the industry’s gender imbalance could be remedied today.

The industry should “begin active and aggressive recruitment of female developers” he said in an Edge article.

Hocking wanted to make it clear that the goal of a better gender balance in games is a craftsmanship issue, not a commercial one.

“This isn’t something we should do because it’s the right thing to do morally – try selling that idea to the board – it’s something we should do because it moves us closer to the goal of speaking to a broader audience. It increases our reach and profitability – and, subsequently, our sustainability.”