Its-a Me, . . . Gender Gap Wage Inequality
Women face misogynistic segregation and on average earn less than men in virtually every industry. The gaming industry specifically is known to be one of the worst offenders. The majority of women in the gaming industry are forced into “traditionally feminine” jobs where they will have no opportunities for advancement. Even the few women who hold main jobs as developers of games earn a disgraceful 86 cents for every dollar that a man makes. These same women not only get paid less than their male colleagues but are given little voice in the development process of games. This leads to games that meet only male interests and ultimately fail to be more inclusive, which in turn creates disinterest in most women. The gaming industry is a medieval patriarchy that disregards women’s rights to fair pay and equality.
Women actually make up a large number of video game players. 59% of Americans play video games and 48% of gamers are women. They make up almost half of all Americans who play video games but they account for only a measly 22% of video game developers. What is even more heartbreaking is that 47% of all developers recognize that there is not equal treatment and opportunity in the industry.
One key reason as to why these dreadful statistics exist is because video games continue to insult, attack, and take advantage of women within their digital landscapes. The fact that this industry is predominantly ran by men is not the issue, the issue is that women are not being heard. Because of this, female characters are used as background pieces that are exploited for their sexuality and or innocence to appeal to men. Many may argue that high-level jobs in the industry should be filled with more females. In turn, this would minimize gender stereotypes in the workplace, in games, and overall will increase the number of female gamers and developers.
This is a very dangerous solution and argument to make. This argument would favor equality of outcome rather in the hopes of equality of opportunity. The problem with equality of outcome is that it is a tyrannical idea. It’s the idea that everyone must be as completely equal as possible which means eliminating achievement and making everybody be the same. It’s a dishonest idea that avoids the recognition of universal inequalities which in turn prevents the ability to correct the equilibrium. Imagine that an extremely high qualified male video game developer was replaced or overlooked for a less qualified female developer just because a company had to balance the number of males to females. Giving everyone equal opportunity is what the video game industry and the world should strive to achieve.
Women not only face inequality and unfair pay in the offices of major video game publishers but on the digital battleground of esports competitions as well. Professional esports athletes do earn a salary but most of their money is earned through tournament earnings. The top 100 esports athletes average at almost $900,000 dollars in earnings. Out of those top 100 athletes, 0 of them are women. The average earnings for the top 100 women are almost $11,000, which is 84 times less than the men’s winnings. People argue that it is a skill that separates them and not genders, which is true to a point. Why aren’t there more women in the higher tier skill brackets of professional esports? Well, one answer is the sexism and harassment they receive from a male-dominant scene. Being that most video games are played online where you can hide behind a username, harassment and verbal abuse are much more prevalent as there is much less real-world consequences in the digital world. This has lead women and men to be consumed with the stress and negativity of all this harassment and ultimately causes players to discontinue their pursuit of becoming esports athletes. Actions are being taken just like in traditional sports to protect these athletes and give them, and especially women, the safety and security they deserve.