If you missed the fallout from GamerGate or are unaware of the terrible diversity stats on women in the gaming industry, consider yourself lucky. Last year’s frightening escalation of violence toward women gamers and developers was a sad reminder of the state of inequality in the industry. But it has brought national attention to women’s minority status in various parts of the industry, from the consumer experience to the competitive pro circuit to the executives in charge of game play, story and design.
Shannon Sun-Higginson’s “GTFO” explains the systemic oppression facing women in gaming. From public and physical harassment to market segregation, “GTFO” goes through the gamut of issues with key input from gaming journalist Maddy Myers, developer Brianna Wu, media critic Anita Sarkeesian, and various scholarly and professional sources. Using old-school 8-bit graphics, “GTFO” makes its way through conventions and competitions to share women gamers' stories and highlight women in different segments of the industry.
At the end of the movie, the filmmakers address how best to help women in the gaming industry. Here are three suggested ways to get involved:
1. Support women in games: Buy games from female developers, donate to gaming organizations dedicated to creating safe spaces for women, become a patron on Kickstarter or Patreon for women indie developers to create their own games, share articles from female game journalists. The list of little ways you can support women in the gaming industry starts on the consumer side and continues through the professional level. If you’re on a gaming panel, invite female speakers. Actively recruit from women’s professional organizations. Support diversity initiatives and internships within the industry.
2. Mentor: If you’re in a position to teach, offer advice or refer someone to internship opportunities, do so. Whether it’s making yourself available to talk to high school and college students, or taking up one-on-one mentorships, reaffirming the aspirations of young female coders is an investment in the future of the industry. Nonprofits like Code Liberation Foundation and Black Girls Code offer free coding lessons to girls and young women.
3. Reach out: If you are a woman in the gaming industry, it’s important to find a community that supports you. Connect with colleagues, and join social or professional groups. If you feel like you may be in danger, the film’s website lists resources like the Mudd Law Offices for legal counsel and Zoe Quinn’s anti-harassment site, Crash Override.