[game_edu] Implications of students going into a male-dominated industry?
ai864 at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 18 14:22:58 EDT 2011
This (long but worthwhile) article has been making the rounds on Twitter recently, so I thought I'd bring it up here:
While it focuses primarily on the Magic:the Gathering player community (as that is what the author is closest to), I think the sentiment can be applied to just about any male-dominated industry, from video game development to mechanical engineering to business.
Personally, in my industry survey class I make it a point to spend some time talking about gender/minority issues. Students in these groups need to be prepared for potentially unjust treatment. Students who are not, need to not add to the problem. (I would actually just as soon make Women's Studies or Minority Studies a required course for all game dev majors until such time as the industry fixes itself, but so far I haven't had the power to affect curriculum that much, so I'm left to just make a "strong recommendation" that my students will go on to ignore.)
It makes me wonder though: the fact that the industry is predominantly white, male and straight, and that this lack of diversity is a problem in so many ways -- is this a problem on everyone's radar in the educational space? How do different schools handle this (particularly trade/vocational schools that are highly industry-focused)? Does anyone require students to take an entire class in understanding unequal societal power dynamics... or do you graft it on to a single class as an isolated topic, and hope it sticks... or do you try to integrate these discussions throughout the curriculum (say, by having game design students make games for target audiences other than themselves)... or does the topic never see mention in the classroom at all because it's seen to be outside the scope of game dev?
In short: where are we now, as a collective? Is that where we should be? If not, what do we need to change to get us there?
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