Gabrielle Toledano, executive vice president and chief talent officer at Electronics Arts, has spoken out about apparent sexism in the gaming industry. Talking with Forbes on an article on Jan. 18, she says that when it comes to sexism, the problem isn’t men keeping women out of the industry.
She believes that the video game industry is simply perceived as more sexist than other male-dominated fields. But she still acknowledges that, at least in her own company, there is a staggering male-to-female imbalance. She states that sexism, not matter how small, is still “an issue to fix”.
"It’s easy to blame men for not creating an attractive work environment," Toledano said. "But I think that’s a cop-out. If we want more women to work in games, we have to recognize that the problem isn’t sexism."
Toledano does not take sexual harassment or sexism lightly. As the head of human resources at Electronic Arts, she enforces a “very strict” code of conduct.
"Rather than blame the majority just because they are the majority, I believe the solution starts with us: women," she said.
Toledano lays down three simple rules for women in the gaming industry—as she calls them, “dirty little secrets”. One: many women play games. "Nearly half of all gamers are female and yet I still continue to hear on a weekly basis that 'the only people playing games are boys in their basements.' It’s just not true. So if you like to play games, wouldn’t it be fun to make them?"
Two: that the industry wants to hire more women. She explains that a company cannot function if its team-structure is built around a single-thinking mindset; revolutionary new games are created because there are variances in who thinks what and how. Accepting a more diverse culture isn’t just a “feel-good message”, she explains, but an essential part for growth.
And three: there are not enough women to hire in the gaming industry, particularly in the engineering field, at least at the current time. Toledano explains that to accomplish this more institutions that support STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) research for women.
She ends her statement by saying that while sexism is a part of the work-force in today’s day and age, it should not stop women from entering an industry. “Sexism is an unfortunate reality of our times, but as women we must seek the power and ability in ourselves to change the dynamic. Cast aside the preconceptions, and look for the opportunities and places to make an impact. And I can tell you firsthand that in the video game industry women are not just welcome, we are necessary and we are equal."