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The second thing folks noticed was, to quote someone on Facebook, "you work in a sausage fest... Hire more girls!" For those keeping track we have two lady employees: one of our QA, and our Lead Developer (the tablet to the left of mine).
So, on the bright side, one of the most influential and highest positions you can have outside of the management hierarchy is filled by a woman--and to be fair, we only have 3 developers, and of those three, one's a lady and one's gay (me), so we're doing all right on the diversity count there--but we are short on non-males overall.
One of our co-founders and creative director had this to say about it on Facebook:
When we did our Flying Helmet Games team photo this week one this [sic] was more obvious than ever. There sure are a lot of dudes at this studio! This is in no way intentional or premeditated, it's just the way it's happened. We have a few women on the team, including our brilliant Lead Programmer. We had quite a few more during our last round of production, but due to our hiatus we couldn't keep that team together. I like to think we're a welcoming and inclusive studio but the truth of the matter is that more guys than gals are applying for the jobs. I hope the reason is that all the women out there already have fantastic jobs, but I'm more inclined to believe that somewhere upstream, more women than men are being discouraged from joining the games and entertainment technology industries.
There are so many groups working to change this, and I want to help too. If there's anyone out there who is interested in joining the games industry, and for whatever reason has been discouraged; "Find a real career," "Games are for kids," "Aren't videogames are for boys?" please reach out, talk to us, come visit the studio, let us help you learn about why this is one of the coolest industries out there with incredible growth potential and the need for new ideas and fresh perspectives!
Please share this if this sounds like it speaks to anyone in your lives, message me or reach out on the Flying Helmet Games Facebook site. And of course, let me know what you think, and tell me what you're doing too and what else there is we can do to help change this for the better together!Mind you, we're a small company, and one that hasn't been able to offer up much in the way of immediate monetary compensation given we haven't shipped anything yet, and that's not to say there might not be unconscious biases at play here, either. But I'm willing to take Ed at face value that folks just aren't applying. When I was involved in hiring our junior programmer, I can say that the candidates were pretty well entirely male.
This isn't a post to pat ourselves on the back on how diversity conscious we are. Far from it. I'm making this post to make a point: we have a disparity in the industry that's being felt all the way down to the indie developers, and we need to fix that.
Our lady employees are among our most skilled employees (and we have a lot of very skilled people at our studio), they kick ass and take names nearly every day, and the fact that we could be losing more employees like that before they even make it to our door is disheartening. At Microsoft, some of my smartest and most effective colleagues were women. As an industry, we're doing ourselves a disservice by not reaching out and welcoming more women, or in some cases even being actively hostile against women with misogynistic practices, comments, or the like.
While gaming in general is doing a pretty awful job of treating women as equal human beings as the past few months can attest to, the industry has been and is still complicit. This must stop. We're only hurting our own industry in the long term by perpetuating this gender imbalance.
I'll close with this quote from Nathan Vella from a speech at GDC 2015:
So let's all fight back...with the best way we know how: through our games, and through our teams, and through our collaborations