In June last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released some raw figures concerning games development in Australia. Of the 581 people employed in games industry, only 8.7% were women. Debi Taylor, a student at UTS in Sydney wondered why those numbers were so low, so she decided to try and find out.
For her honours thesis Debi tracked down all the development studios in Australia, asking each company about their female staff. She spoke in-depth to 10 regarding their involvement in local games development.
Part of the issue begins at university.
"I don’t want to say it is bullying but it is a condescending attitude ... In your first year, there is a lot of pressure; male students can be dismissive of a woman’s input. Men and women tend to challenge women more than they challenge men," said Debi, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Interestingly, Debi found that female developers who did make it into the industry tended to have a lot in common: fathers who worked in science or research, no sisters.
"Every one of them was influenced by a close male relationship, someone who played games and included them in the games," explained Debi.
You can read more about Debi's research over at the Sydney Morning Herald. We're planning to speak to Debi about some of the issues raised next week.