Case Study – Esther

Esther was just starting her degree in Game Arts but she was hearing a lot of negative things about working in the industry as a women. For example, her work will be valued less than equivalent to a male. Esther decided to write an email to a Game Developing company to ask about gender equality in the workplace. Her email was forwarded to two female awards winning game developers, Kim McAuliffe & My N. Tran.

There were a lot of interesting points covered in the Q&A’s, however to summarize, I have picked the two questions that I found very interesting: How does gender inequality impact women in the game studios?

  • Financially there is a pay gap. Men earn more that women. Women feel that they can’t negotiate when it comes to salary or promotion.
  • There can be a feeling of isolation if you end up being the only woman at a meeting.
  • If you’re not load or aggressive you get talked over in meetings.

Is the Industry aware of gender inequality issue?

  • It all comes down to what percentage of the employees both male and female actually care about the gender equality issue. Some men and women are aware, some don’t care and only a small percentage are trying to make a difference by inviting more women into meetings, speeches, etc.

It is clear that many students have encountered these issues and are worried about their future. Learning more about other people’s experiences I realised that there are many people that have similar stories. It would be interesting to interview men and women who are working in the creative industry in Ireland to discover their experiences in relation to gender inequality. For me, the most significant issue is that women are talked over and their work and ideas are not valued equally to men. Previously, I did not realise the impact of these issues. Having read this interview, I feel that this is very discouraging for students entering the industry.

Reference:

Bay, J. (2016). Gender Equality in the Video Game Industry [online]. Available from http://www.gameindustrycareerguide.com/gender-equality-in-the-video-game-industry/ (Accessed 28/10/2017).

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Unconscious Gender Bias

Digging deeper into current issues of gender equality, we started to think… why do these things happen?

We came across an interesting article based on two co workers, male and female. Male employee Martin R. Schneider accidentally signed all of his emails with his female colleague’s automated signature as they shared the same inbox. Schneider realised what had happened after his female colleague received criticism by her employer stating that she was very slow at doing her tasks and communicating with clients. Schneider took it upon himself to resolve the situation and introduce himself as Martin Schneider to the clients and all the problems had disappeared. The client’s reaction changed and Schneider received positive feedback. Although Schneider stated: ‘’my techniques and advice never changed. The only difference was that I had a man’s name now’’. This made Schneider realise that women were not treated equally compared to men in the workplace. Schneider and his female colleague decided to conduct an experiment for two weeks and they swapped their email accounts. The results were shocking, Schneider had the worst two weeks of his life. Everything he said or suggested was questioned and criticised and he had wasted a lot of time trying to prove himself, whereas, his female colleague had experienced very rewarding two weeks and her work was actually valued because she had used Schneiders signature. Schneider tweeted this story on twitter and it went viral straight away with 7,000 likes and 5,400 shares (Rodionova, 2017).

This article has proven that people consider men more suited for certain positions than  women. We came across many more articles proving the same thing. Then we started to ask ourselves, why do people have these perceptions of male and female roles? Why do people consider men more suited for certain positions than women? Then we realised, maybe these perceptions are not deliberate. Maybe people do not realise that these judgements and perceptions of women not being suited for higher positions are not justified. So then, we decided to research into unconscious gender bias.

Unconscious gender bias has been imprinted in each individual from the day we learned how to speak. Reflecting back to the fairy tales our  parents told us before bed. Reflecting back to the colour scheme of our bedroom. Reflecting back to our parents as role models. All aspects of our childhood had been gender biased. In fairy tales princesses always had to be rescued by princess. Boys’s bedrooms would always have a darker colour scheme than girls. Mothers would always cook and clean while fathers would be working. These gender roles have been passed on though generations. Each generation has become less gender biased, however the problem still exists and affects us nowadays.

References:

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