The games industry that was previously dominated by men for years is currently made up of almost 46% of women, according to Game Consumer Insights, produced by Newzoo, the leading provider of market intelligence, covering the global games, eSports, and mobile markets. Despite this fact and their relevance in the universe of online games, the great majority of female gamers say they have experienced some kind of sexual harassment or bullying in online games, which leads them to frequently hide their identity and enter competitions using masculine or neutral nicknames to avoid attacks and harassment.
The numbers are alarming: according to another study, conducted at The Ohio State University, the great majority of women that play games for at least 22 hours per week have experienced some form of harassment.
Aiming at changing this inequality situation and finally bringing the matter to light, the NGO Wonder Women Tech that champions in favor of female empowerment all over the world, has been leading a project called #MyGameMyName to draw attention to the oppression problem. In an exclusive action, the organization invited popular game YouTubers to experience what women suffer when playing online. For the first time, men played an online game using a female nickname – some of them, as suggested by the NGO, used their mother’s, sister’s, or girlfriend’s names – in order to see what it feels like to be female online. With the altered identity, they recorded a video while playing and brought the experiment to life. Check out the action here: https://www.facebook.com/WonderWomenTech/videos/904927633027834/ and on the project’s website: http://www.mygamemyname.com/en.
After having lived through the experience, male gamers that took part in the action posted the experiment video in their social networks with #MyGameMyName, sending a message to their millions of followers by telling them about the experience and asking for a more respectful and egalitarian virtual world.
This campaign has started a movement to reach the games industry – notably twice as big as Hollywood’s – so that it will take more effective actions against this kind of abuse that women and girls suffer.
“It’s not fair for a girl to hide her own identity because some people don’t know how to behave when they play against a girl or a woman. So, we wanted to take a deep dive and explore whether the gaming industry would implement tools to take action against sexual abuse, much like they do to avoid cheating and piracy. Big problems demand big efforts. It’s not an easy task but that’s why we are recruiting the most famous gamers and influencers to take part in the action and join us to change this game”, stated Lisa Mae Brunson, Founder of Wonder Women Tech.
According to Game Consumer Insights, women are present in several game styles and mediums. In PC, for instance, there are almost no difference between audiences: 83% of women like playing on the computer against 85% of men. In consoles, numbers are also similar: 78% of male gamers against 73% of female gamers. In mobile, there are more women – 86% against 80% of men. The majority of female gamers (14%) are in the 25-31-year-old age bracket, same age as the majority of men who play (34%).