最近刚上任的Women In Games Jobs（以下简称WIGJ）团体代表Gina Jackson相信，英国开发者只有更好地利用全国女性人才的智慧，才有可能在世界舞台上获得竞争优势。
Jackson相信推动游戏多样性的关键便是通过举办各种大会，让女性能够在此展现她们对游戏产业所作出的贡献。这个组织接下来的工作便是努力承办好第二届European Women in Games Conference——将于9月26日（周三）在伦敦拉开帷幕。
Women In Games Jobs determined to fix dismal gender split
The recently appointed chief executive of Women In Games Jobs believes UK developers can only compete on the world stage by tapping into the nation’s wealth of female talent.
In her first press interview since taking up her post at the not-for-profit special interest group in July, Gina Jackson says she is “massively concerned” about the state of the UK industry, telling us the fact that just six per cent of those with jobs in the UK game industry are women is a key problem.
“The biggest commercial reason to get more women into games jobs is that more and more women play games,” Jackson tells us. “You need a more balanced group of people in development, and women can help an awful lot.
“I am massively concerned about the state of the UK industry, that’s why I have stood up about this issue.”
The most recent data cited by Creative Skillset – the Government-sponsored organisation which monitors the supply of and demand for skills – shows representation of women in games is at its lowest in over a decade. The proportion of women in the industry halved from 12 per cent of staff in 2006 to just six per cent in the next survey year of 2009. “The industry is potentially missing out on a lot of talent,” Jackson says. “I don’t know if women are not applying and that’s why they are under-represented.”
But whatever the cause, the game industry appears to be a special case. The six per cent figure is dwarfed by the proportion of women working in the wider creative media industries’ workforce (42 per cent) and the UK economy as a whole (46 per cent).
Jackson- a former head of studio at Ocean, and business development chief at Kuju, Nokio and Eidos – says WIGJ is targeting an increase in the number of women in games jobs to 10 per cent by 2013, and 25 per cent by 2020.
But despite those specific targets, Jackson will not be rushed into drawing up a manifesto for change. “First we need to understand the figures by collecting data,” she explains. “Is it that women aren’t applying for jobs, that they’re not being promoted, or are leaving the industry? We can all guess and it’s probably those things and more combined.”
Certainly Jackson is concerned there may be deep-rooted problems putting women off jobs in the game industry. And she claims that, anecdotally, recruiters are keen to employ women but just aren’t receiving enough applications.
Not that she believes the lack of candidates should lead to positive discrimination. “I’d hate women-only shortlists for development jobs,” she says, adding, “for me that would be the most appalling thing to do. People should be treated on their merits, so I am against that. When it comes to a job it comes down to an individual, regardless of gender.” EU employment legislation agrees, of course: it’s illegal to advertise jobs for specific genders.
Jackson believes gender has been an issue in her career. “At one company I was paid less than male colleagues. Then I was promoted and I still got paid less,” she recalls. “Maybe I didn’t shout loud enough at the time. Things have changed massively since then.”
The former producer is reluctant to discuss specifics of harassment or overt discrimination she may have encountered, preferring instead to focus on positive messages to send out to women aspiring to a role in the game industry.
“I want to encourage women to stand up and talk about what they do and to find a better way to do that,” Jackson says. “So many women who have made comments in the press have been attacked by people – not those in games – but those who play games. When you ask if women are treated unfairly, there are lots who are. But many others ask me why we even need a special interest group as there are many women who have never encountered any problems because of their gender.”
Jackson, now managing director at software consultancy Blushing Blue, believes a key obstacle to women is their perception of the industry. “Possibly one reason for women being put off is that while they play games they don’t see themselves as gamers,” she says. “And in the ’80s and ’90s, press coverage of games ‘geeks’ did no good and didn’t reflect reality.”
Jackson believes overcoming labels is a key to improving the gender balance in games as well as a yardstick for her success. “The problem with having a minority is that if you do stand up the media label us as ‘the woman in the games’. That doesn’t help either.”
Instead Jackson – a proud Portsmouth Football Club fan – would prefer to be known for what she has done in her career than her gender. And, for her, once such milestone had a football connection. “One of the proudest things I did professionally was signing Championship Manager Mobile. I wanted to do something good with Championship Manager. The experience was brilliant.”
And Jackson believes a key to promoting diversity in games is through conferences that enable women to showcase their contribution to the industry. The group’s next event is the second European Women in Games Conference, taking place in London on Wednesday, September 26.
“What we are trying to say is that we are not blaming anybody,” says Jackson. “We need to change how the industry is perceived. We want to do that with role models – hundreds of them.”(source:edge)