I am excited about this years Women’s day for a number of reasons. Firstly it marks a streaming milestone wherein I was asked to participate in the days events on twitch but its also the first Women’s day where I am running my own business that I started from scratch thanks to streaming.
I have HUGE plans for Women’s day 2023 but the time constraints for this year meant I had to keep it simple, so over the next few days there will be a series of blogs on literature, sci-fi and gaming – all focusing on female representation.
Now a lot of you will be wondering why, in the 2020’s as progressive as are that we still need to recognise Women’s day, well that answer is simple – it still isn’t a level playing field for women – not in business, not in tech, not in gaming and not in streaming.
In business in the UK only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs are female, and women like myself (self employed) make up the biggest proportion of those who are newly self employed. According to data by Prowess, in 2017 only 5.6% of women ran their own business which is a ways behind Canada and the US.
In technology, the gender divide is started in the classroom and carries on way beyond this with only 3% of females spoken to by PWC saying a career in tech is their first choice. Why is this?
From having been a teacher & head of Computer Science the biggest obstacle I faced was uptake. This was improved by the students seeing they had a female in arguably one of the hardest GCSE’s at the time but this still wasn’t enough. Students were always very aware that they would be outnumbered in any tech based work place they went to (as I was during my time at the Science Museum) and many I spoke to over the years were concerned about pay disparities and sexism.
Sadly you don’t have to look very far to see why female students were put off by jobs in tech (and gaming), just recently Ubisoft has had issues with sexual harassment and sexism in the work place, and still hasn’t improved conditions enough as a result of these allegations. With gaming itself being something that now has an ever growing female fan base, its the ingrained sexism within the industry that puts so many off.
I have been dabbling in and out of the gaming industry since 2007 and can sincerely say that my experience on the whole has been positive, but when it hasn’t been it has focused on my looks or trying to put me into a category of gamer (casual) or girl type (un-hot nerdy one). Just recently I had a game developer demonstrate such bias – purely because I didn’t like his game.
In streaming it can get a bit worse.
In the last 7 days I have had more harassment based on my gender than I have in the last 3 months. This includes but is not limited to: threats of sexual violence, harassment in chat & being sent pornographic images via twitter DMs (which itself has been an issue during the last 13 years I have used the social media platform).
Luckily, I am not (yet) the target of more focused harassment but you don’t have to look far to see other higher profile female streamers getting it much worse. Over the course of the last 12 months streamers like Amouranth being targeted by arson, and other high profile female streamers suffering with stalking, harassment and more.
So this is why Women’s Day remains important, to facilitate this discussion and to highlight these issues, we still have so much work to do in order to break the bias.
I hope you’ll join me later for a special stream where we play though Pets at Work by Nibb Games and have a chat some of the other issues women still face today.
Keep an eye out for the rest of our Women’s Day blogs this week too!