Sweden’s got a cool idea for changing sexist gaming culture
Gender inequality in gaming is a real and pervasive issue, and in case you don’t believe us, we suggest you check out a little thing called #Gamergate. But games industry officials in Sweden have recently hit upon a strategy they think will be a huge win for fighting sexism in video games within the country.
.According to Swedish newspaper The Local, the organization Dataspelsbranchen that represents games in the public received a large grant by the Swedish government (272,000 kronor or roughly $36,600) to work with games developers and look at the way games portray female characters. Their idea is to put labels on games to indicate whether or not they promote gender equality. Either all games would come with a label, or studios that promote gender equality would be awarded with some kind of certificate.
“I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question [about sexism in gaming] and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area,” Anton Albiin, the manager of the project, told the Local. “”Of course games can be about fantasy but they can be so much more than this. They can also be a form of cultural expression — reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things.”
The company won’t just look at the content of games and consider how to make them more gender equitable, it will also look at the way that game studios promote diversity and equality within the workforce. That’s important, given that a recent study showed that just 22% of the game industry workforce worldwide is made up of women, even while 52% of gamers are women. It’s high time to change the sexism of gaming culture, and maybe Sweden is onto something.