Interview: Code Liberation On Game Workshops For Women

More varied people making games means more varied games.

The Code Liberation Foundation offers free game development workshops for people identifying as women in New York City. So far they’ve provided short courses on C++ and openFramework, as well as their own game jam, and between now and the end of the year they’ll be offering classes in GameMaker, HTML5 and Unity.

I spoke to Nina Freeman, one of the foundation’s founders, about the whys, hows and future of the project.

RPS: What is Code Liberation and how did you get involved?

Freeman: Code Liberation began this past summer when Phoenix Perry asked myself and four other NYC game dev women (Jane Friedhoff, Catt Small and Mei Chan) over for pizza. She had been to GDC (where I met her) when she was showing a game at the PlayStation booth; people kept asking her if she could “direct them to one of the game developers.”

So, over pizza, we shared our frustrations with the lack of women in games, and that’s how Code Liberation was born. We decided to teach a 3-month long introduction to C++ games programming class. We had 15-20 girls (aged early twenties to early fifties) attend the class taught by myself, Phoenix and Jane, over the course of the summer. Now, we regularly offer free game programming and development workshops to anyone identifying as a woman.

RPS: What kind of response have you had so far – how many people are coming to classes?

Freeman: It’s been super positive, and our first class asked for more immediately. Once fall rolled around and we had finished our first C++ course, I decided it was time to organize a game jam. We offered two openFrameworks workshops before the game jam (open to jammers and those who couldn’t make the jam) taught by myself and Jane. I think about 40 women showed up between the two classes.

Our game jam turned out 4 really great games (12 girls, each on small teams), which I will link below. That game jam was our last big event and it took place at the end of September. We’ve already been getting e-mails asking for more classes, so our next series will be at the end of this month with a GameMaker workshop and HTML5/JS games workshop.

Our jam got some great news coverage, and there’s an interview with me at the jam. The four jam games were Beacon, IntraTerrestrial, Therapy Sesh and Tangle.

Anything that helps new people into game dev means more varied games.

RPS: How are you supporting the courses when they’re free? Do you accept donations?

Freeman: Right now, this is all one great labor of love for us. NYU-Poly and the NYU Game Center have been super supportive, and have even offered us free space to hold our events, so that’s what we’ve been doing so far. We teach this stuff for free because we know how important it is. If no one takes any action, the lack of women in games will continue to be an issue. We are accepting donations on our website via that big link on the bottom. We’re definitely growing quickly, so money is in the forefront of our minds right now and we are planning some big stuff regarding that for this upcoming year.

RPS: How much can you cover in a single course?

Freeman: The course I’m currently teaching is our first middle/high school course. I have about 12 girls attending the course, all of which have little to no experience programming, but are very excited about games. The class is an introduction to C++ games programming via openFrameworks. My goal is to teach them the basics of C++ programming and game logic so that they can leave the course with the tools to build their own prototypes and games using openFramework.

RPS: Why do you think it’s important that there are courses that cater specifically to those who identify as women

Freeman: We’re really focusing our efforts on people that identify as women because there’s no time to fool around. We need to close the gender gap in games. One of our primary goals is to provide a safe space that is comfortable for any woman who wants to learn. That said, some of our students have encountered abuse and stereotyping in the context of games in the past, and openly feel more comfortable being in a class taught by women for women. It’s important for us to provide a positive learning environment for them, because otherwise they may just not come at all.

Of course, not all women feel this way, but we wanted to provide a safe space to those who need it. These kinds of groups exist in tech that offer similar programs, such as PyLadies and Girls Who Code, and they’ve been highly successful. We know that games needs this kind of organization so that those ladies who wouldn’t otherwise take a games programming class would see us and think, “Wow, they want to help me, and they’re making an effort to offer me a space that I feel comfortable learning in.”

More variety, more choice, more potentially good games, right?

RPS: If people aren’t in New York or can’t attend a course in person, are there other ways they can get involved or support the foundation?

Freeman: Absolutely! We’re always looking for people outside of NYC that want to help, and we are hopefully going to see some new chapters opening up in other parts of the states (and the world!) as well.

Part of our goal is to make games programming accessible to women, and a big part of that is compiling learning materials online. We put all of our slides up on Github where they’re accessible to anyone wanting to learn or teach their own class. Code Liberation has spoken all over the place, from MIT to Indiecade, and we’re really reaching out to find both students and mentors that want to support and participate in our cause. The wheels are certainly turning!

Read more about Code Liberation on the official site. It is really cool. If you know of any similar projects, send them my way and I’ll look into covering them.


Top comments

  1. DuneTiger says:

    I think it's important not to mix up what the intention of this course is for. It's expected that these kinds of comments are going to show up whenever gender issues and gaming cross lines, but the point of the matter isn't to create equality via exclusivity. It's simply to give women a place where they are comfortable learning subject matter that might otherwise be difficult to get into.

    Think about it this way - you're a big fatty who has decided to go to the gym like everyone else. The intention is to go and get fit and start a healthy lifestyle, but there's the consideration of you being the big fatty in a room full of fit people (no, not all gyms are like this, but that's the general assumption). Now, many people would rather simply find an alternative than to risk embarassment, which is unfortunate. Of course it's not always going to turn out as it is perceived, but it's always difficult to go into a place knowing you're going to be the odd one out.

    In many ways, this breaks down that barrier for women in IT. Whether or not you agree with exclusivity or the "identify as a woman" thing, keep in mind that the point of this is to encourage more women to come out and learn these things as there might be an actual interest (and given reported attendance, it looks like it's pretty good).

    So morals aside, it's a good idea.
  1. Ergates_Antius says:

    We need something like this in the UK – except not just focusing on games developement. The gender gap in IT in general is a yawning chasm – especially in the technical roles.

    “asked myself and four other NYC game dev women (Jane Friedhoff, Catt Small and Mei Chan)”

    • cmsd2 says:

      there are a few organisations around

      we have Open Tech School here in Berlin, which tries to be inclusive, although the girls are clearly outnumbered by the guys at events I’ve been to.

      Rails Girls is maybe directly addressing the imbalance, but it’s clearly not well known enough
      link to

    • Ultra Superior says:

      It’s great to build a safe haven for those who wish to learn programming, without being somewhat degraded by tutors and peers just because of gender stereotypes.

      It would be very interesting to watch how much is this endeavor going to be successful, however.

      Because, as we all know, majority of women don’t fancy coding.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Is there any evidence for that though? Maybe young women just dont want to become developers for more prosaic reasons.

        • airmikee99 says:

          If there isn’t any need for these classes because women don’t want them, the classes will disappear. The fact that the first one has been such a success suggests the problem is real.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I never said women dont want them [Edit – at all] nor that the classes were not a good idea.

            What do you think would happen were they not restricted to women though? If men showed up would you think that proves that men are also oppressed by more traditional learning opportunities? You would be wrong if so.

          • namad says:

            I think a lot of young students would love to attend a free course on games programming. Regardless of gender. Teach a course like this which sustains itself entirely from student fees and see how it goes. That would prove there is demand for it through capitalism. Giving gifts to people doesn’t prove need.

  2. tellrov says:

    Good idea but,

    identify as women

    Can we stop this?

    • RedViv says:

      At the point where people don’t assume woman=vagina+boobs, sure.

      • rusty5pork says:

        Your icon is the DotA2 symbol, and yet you are not being angry and hateful toward trans* people. I’m very confused.

        • RedViv says:

          It’s surprising how actual human contact can help with that, really.
          Maybe growing from some weird tiny monkey into a hulking brickhouse of a lady does as well. Who knows, right?

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Hulking brickhouse of a lady spewing weird tiny monkeys!

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        And fortunately that will never happen. Primary sexual characteristics usually determine the gender. Which means women have vaginas. No vagina means not a woman.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          You’re confusing sex and gender. Gender is a social construct and, as such, is as maleable as we want it to be.

          I’d also question why it matters to you how other people identify themselves?

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            the word gender and sex are of the same meaning in every case except to people with sociology degrees, Gender to mean biological male/female gametes or sex is because normal people in everyday conversations uses “sex” as a shorthand for sexual reproduction (you know about the crappy joke “Sex..Yes please”) and not male/female.

            hence we say male/female gender and not male/female sex even when we are talking about Taxonomy_(biology)

          • Viroso says:

            Not just people with sociology degrees. Without getting too much into what you’re saying, just consider that there are people who care about the difference and that it is no big deal for you to take it into consideration. Nothing’s bad gonna happen to you, quite the opposite.

        • Geebs says:

          Look up androgen insensitivity syndrome and then be sure to come back and tell people what you think they can call themselves

          • soldant says:

            Except the cases where it’s ambiguous (e.g. incomplete function) are fairly rare. If they do have XY chromosomes (i.e. genetically male) but with non-functional testosterone, their sexual characteristics are female. You could be genetically XY but phenotype female and not know it until you run into complications.

            You can attach whatever social significance you want to gender, but biology is biology and you can make a definitive call on whether a person is male or female, either genetically or on phenotype (mostly genetically). Conditions like AIS do not change this.

            EDIT: To clarify I’m not dismissing cultural constructs of gender but biology is predominately unambiguous and PIAS doesn’t change that. That’s not to say you can’t modify biology, but you can still call it male or female genetically, if not by phenotype.

          • Geebs says:

            Okay, if you can definitively determine sex from X and Y, how about Klinefelters?

            There are no absolutes in discussions of assigned sex and gender and much harm has been done in the past by trying to impose a gender on somebody based on “absolute” criteria which turn out not to be absolute after all.

    • Mungrul says:

      In the age of trangenderism, no.
      I’ll admit, it took me a while to wrap my head around, but someone who is undergoing a transgender transformation but could currently be described as “pre-op”, is still entitled to identify as a woman.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        So why not simply use the terms woman/women and not exclude transgenders when using them, rather than be all like, you’re not a woman, you just identify as one, so we need to use this long-winded term to include you, aren’t you feeling special that we do this just to avoid offending you?

        Anyway, such things only lead to more sexism in my opinion, like girls have to have special treatment to achieve the same things. Make the educational programs unisex and encourage both boys and girls to join, learn and have fun together. Obviously work harder in encouraging girls to join since that’s the primary goal and behind the scenes fix the results so there are no more boys than girls, otherwise you could certainly end up with all-boys classes defeating the whole point. But at least in this case they aren’t just trying to make money, at least not directly, out of this “cater to women” trend so that’s a step up.

        • boxfish says:

          In answer to your first question: Because many events which are simply labelled as ‘women-only’ are actifvely hostile to trans women, and to attend them might put them in danger. So it needs to be crystal clear that it is a trans-friendly event.

          Also ‘transgenders’ is not a word. ‘Transgender people’ is probably the phrase you’re looking for.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            English is not my native language.

            I think it’s best to fight for the right to be accepted, crash those supposedly women-only events that don’t accept transgender people, go anywhere and everywhere that is labeled as for women, at the very least be vocal questioning if they accept transgender people when they say it’s for women.

            Make them show their true colors, make them slap a racist “NO TRANSGENDER PEOPLE” label on their events (and then crash them anyway), rather than accept merely identifying as one and having those who do wish to accept them as women labeling them differently when they want it to be made clear.

            So, in this interview for example I think they should say that it’s an event for women, then if they want to show sensitivity for this subject have a question about the acceptance of transgender people and a clarification that indeed when they say women they mean this because they too are women.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            Yeah, fuck you for welcoming minorities. They should go ruin things for bigots until the bigots welcome them with open arms. That is clearly a much better solution.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Yes, fighting for your rights is just wanting to ruin things for bigots, nothing more, those black people should have just sat quiet, gone to their colored-only schools and colored-only everything while trying not to mingle and make a big fuss about it, man, eventually I’m sure their rights would have been given with none of that nasty business they had to go and put everyone through for no damn reason.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            You’re saying we should encourage black people to rebel by excluding them on purpose though.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            What are you trying to pull?

            How did I even begin to imply anyone’s exclusion by merely saying people should call women simply women and not as people that “identify as women”?

            How did I even begin to imply anyone’s exclusion by merely saying women should be encouraged to join mixed gender IT courses because they’re not in any way handicapped and don’t need a special not to mention unrealistic environment, one that won’t be in the real world when the time comes to get a job?

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          When things are as out of whack as the gender imbalance in IT/Games dev you can’t really just leave things be and expect them to sort themselves out, you need to make extra efforts.

          • RedViv says:

            Exactly. Why does it have to be stated again and again and again that expecting a situation to change just by doing the same things as they have been forever, through some sort of magic I guess, is colossally silly?

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: GamesInquirer

            If what you say were at all possible without an initiative such as this, why hasn’t it happened yet?

            It’s like people whining about Affirmative Action. If minorities were able to get into college without AA, why wasn’t it being done before AA?

            If the male dominated video game culture is capable of treating women and minorities as equals, why haven’t they fucking done it yet?

          • GamesInquirer says:

            You do want to misunderstand & twist everything.

            I didn’t say these initiatives shouldn’t exist. I said they should exist with the same goals they have now but go about them better, encouraging and providing actual equality. So, yes, they should encourage these women to get in the field and be taught by women, yet also by equal men, with other men studying alongside them. Like the normal people they are, in real established courses with real degrees they can use in the real world. Don’t encourage a voluntary expulsion to girl-land seminars with degrees of little value that may as well establish the belief they can only ever achieve something within initiatives based on their gender rather than in the real world within equal opportunity mixed gender environments.

        • dE says:

          Because it’s quite frankly not that easy. What the public identifies as woman is in some cases quite different from what an individual identifies as. When a transgender friend of mine visited a women only fitness club, she was harassed, insulted and thrown out for what she was. It’s actually quite fair to go that extra length and explicitely include people. Yeah, in an idealized world that wouldn’t be necessary. It’s not an ideal world.

          Your other topic, I somewhat agree with. It’s somewhat of a sad day that the anger and bile this discussion has been led with, forces the hands of people to create gender segregated spaces to protect themselves. Alas I doubt there is a better solution to this right now. Long term goals and short term aids are in a bit of conflict. In the long term, it’d be much better to work on increasing self-esteem, to strengthen individuals and sensitise the coming generations. To actually decrease the seperation between genders. But that’s a long term goal that could quite possibly take atleast two more generations to happen.
          The issue needs immediate NOW solutions, the people suffering from these need a way to help themselves now. Not in two generations from now, when their entire life has been hell. So there are these short term aids that offer a quick fix. They will not help with the long term goal and may in fact harm it. But damn all are they necessary in the current environment, to protect the people of now, not tomorrow.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            So what if it’s not that easy? No pain, no gain.

            I think that if every “for women/girls” thing was turned to a “for all sexes” thing, simply offering extra care and encouragement and attention to the fact the less represented genders are welcome to sign up alongside the others but not providing special gender based care in the actual event or class, it would be a way bigger help, both clearly providing a space where women/girls are accepted and at the same time fostering acceptance to the other genders in the field, not only those who happen to attend alongside them but also those who view the event from the outside and see all genders treated equal therein. The way it’s done now as you admit there’s a conflict between the short and long term goals, the way I suggest I think gets rid of the conflict and provides more benefits towards equality, in turn hopefully lessening that two generation span.

            Obviously behind the scenes it wouldn’t be hard to not accept more boys than girls while mistreating of any gender shouldn’t be accepted with instant expelling if not criminal charges where applicable and the teachers/organizers could still include women further showing to all genders that yes, they can also be good enough to even teach men/boys alongside their male colleagues they are treated equally to. At the end of the day such initiatives aren’t the real world and since they have the chance to offer an idealized environment it should be a really ideal one, not one that merely reverses the sexism in a room while the rest of the world continues as is.

          • dE says:

            With the difference that your example is a magical fantasy world solved by handwaving. Don’t you think that it was tried many times already, to have an everyone is included programming course? Because that’s the Status Quo essentially, every coding lession is open to everyone. No one is excluded on paper and if you ask the instructors, it’s all about equality with extra care, as you say, to make sure everyone is treated well and everyone is invited to join in.
            Switch, zoom, focus on reality. That’s precisely what’s causing the issue at the moment. You can’t blend out the background. You can’t ignore years of social conditioning and experience with harassment. Even if none of the males at the course actually do anything, their presence is already like a looming threat. Not because they do anything, but because of the background and the reputation of the industry. And that’s a fantasy picture as well, because there’s bound to be atleast one male that will drip oceans of sexism and disdain.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            “With the difference that your example is a magical fantasy world solved by handwaving”

            No. What I suggested takes effort and hard work, harder than doing a girls only club, but with bigger benefits that don’t conflict against their intentions.

            And yes, I totally said let that guy in the class get away with grabbing the girls boobs, slapping their butts and belittling them verbally and physically. Great argument bro/sis. It’s impossible to have a positive environment where males are involved and such a guy as you described would totally sign up for a class that was clearly promoted as female friendly.

          • dE says:

            I think you’ve just clearly shown you have no actual interest in this discussion. Fair enough. You used a lot of words for that but whatever.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            I show I have no interest in discussion just because for the sake of discussion I attempted to actually respond to your childish dismissal and intentional misrepresentation of everything I said. Ok. I like how you’ve gone from somewhat agreeing with me to this bullshit even though my position hasn’t changed.

          • WrenBoy says:

            The problem with what you are saying is that if you take your idea to its logical conclusion its actually your fault. After all you are portraying software development as an oppressive environment for women which may discourage some from taking it up.

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          Velorien says:

          Edit: this was intended as a reply to GamesInquirer. Not sure what happened there.

          I agree entirely concerning the use of “identifying as women” ending up as more discriminatory than just “women”.

          In regard to ” such things only lead to more sexism in my opinion”, I think they covered this under

          “some of our students have encountered abuse and stereotyping in the context of games in the past, and openly feel more comfortable being in a class taught by women for women. It’s important for us to provide a positive learning environment for them, because otherwise they may just not come at all.”

          Also, forgive me if I’m misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you’re either not understanding or rejecting the idea of positive discrimination that is being embodied by this initiative. In which case, I feel I should respond.

          A world of equality by default would be great, but the fact is life just doesn’t work that way. If you build a unisex programme, fewer girls will turn up than boys. This is because there exist entry barriers for girls, such as the fact that they grow up in a gaming culture that says girls can’t be game designers, and internalise this belief, or the fact that they will be expecting the kind of abusive male gamers they regularly encounter online. This number imbalance isn’t an ideological issue, it’s an observable statistical fact.

          You can generalise this across any area of life where there are arguments over positive discrimination. By the same token, if you make a purely egalitarian hiring system in your business, fewer women will apply than men, because they grow up in a culture that leads them to expect worse positions and lower salaries than men. Often, they will be right, because their employers will be men who grew up in that same culture and take giving women worse jobs and lower salaries for granted. Again, these aren’t ideological points. They’re observable facts backed up by extensive and depressing statistics.

          The goal of positive discrimination is to reach the state where that discriminatory culture no longer exists, because men and women are equally represented on every level of every hierarchy. Women won’t need to worry about being mistreated in the gaming industry because half the people already there will be women, and most of the rest will be men who are used to female gamers and game designers, and take their existence for granted. Women won’t need to worry about being discriminated against in the business world, because half the people hiring them will already be women – and most of the rest will be men who have seen firsthand that women consistently work exactly as well as them.

          At that point positive discrimination can and must be scrapped as the discriminatory practice it is, because a culture of equality will have been established, and will thereafter be self-sustaining. Its purpose right nowt isn’t to be a new status quo that enforces equality through discrimination, but to create a new status quo where no discrimination of any sort takes place.

          Of course, there’s every chance that I’ve misread your position and this is of no relevance to you, but odds are there’ll still be someone somewhere who finds it useful.

          • The Random One says:

            Thank you for explaining positive discrimination so clearly and succinctly, Velorien. I wish I could print out your post and pin it to the internet’s wall.

            €: And thank you, o fickle God of RPS comments, for keeping my reply attached to the post I replied to and sparing me of your all-borking gaze.

          • WombatDeath says:

            I completely agree with Random, that was a very well expressed post. I’m replying partly to say that, and partly so that I can find it easily in the future when I want to steal it.

          • harbinger says:

            Maybe they just don’t *want* to work in those jobs though, not because they are somehow forced or “oppressed” into not doing it by society, but because they personally prefer doing certain other things more given the choice (for instance since women are the gender birthing children, they generally are more attracted to jobs that deal with children – can one still say this without being lynched?).

            Generally speaking women seem to overall gravitate more towards people-oriented things like nursing, teaching or social work, while men gravitate towards things like construction, engineering and IT.
            In countries where people are largely free to pursue any career they want and some that are considered the most “equal” in the world like Norway or Sweden, women actually have less overall interest in technical jobs (even despite policies and positive encouragement) than in countries like India or some of the Arabic ones where women aren’t as free and are forced by society to take jobs that “make money” or “provide for the family” instead of being encouraged to follow what they would want to do.

            Watch this: link to
            It was very enlightening and deals with exactly this problem.

            There will likely never be a total statistical equality in most of these fields unless it is being enforced by laws and strict supervising, and at that point you are discriminating against both sides and what they actually naturally would want to do with their lives based on interests and possibly making some people miserable since somebody decided there absolutely has to be a 50/50 split in certain occupational groups and they can’t do what they like.

            What is also funny is that you never see these kind of workshops or policy questions in regards to any of the jobs that are largely considered “undesirable”, for instance where are the calls for equality or programs like this for jobs like construction work, garbage collection, mining work, oil drilling on a platform in the middle of the ocean and similar?

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Courses for sensitive, traumatized victims of actual abuse (of any gender) is one thing, a vague statement of how some of these women may have encountered “abuse in the context of games” doesn’t tell anyone shit and doesn’t provide such a framework, while it implies that’s the issue stopping women from entering the field which is absurd as pretty much every human, males too, who has gone on the internet has encountered abuse, but you still see them in these jobs. Or is abuse easier to overcome when it comes from the same gender? Anyway, again, this is still not about gaming, or its industry, this is about education opportunities at this point. What issues may come after that stage need different measures to those education needs. Again, this is not about anonymous morons on the internet throwing insults to everyone playing COD (which is only one heavily advertised part of a rather large industry that has products appealing to all sorts of people and moods, another such part would be WoW which plenty women play, another would be Super Mario which every gamer plays, and so on) regardless of gender. Did these women try to join a related course in a university and the teachers or schoolmates were abusive, somehow only in those courses, and the university was fine with it or what exactly? Even if that happened you should probably sooner work to raise awareness of the abusive practices of that particular institution than accept it as the reality of life and retreat to girls only clubs that don’t provide any degrees. As far as I can tell many of the women involved, if not most, aren’t teachers.

          • Nogo says:

            Wow, that got incredibly ugly surprisingly fast.

            “you should probably sooner work to raise awareness of the abusive practices of that particular institution than accept it as the reality of life and retreat to girls only clubs that don’t provide any degrees. As far as I can tell many of the women involved, if not most, aren’t teachers.”

            Ya, those dumb, delusional chicks are doing it wrong. They need to just man up and discrimination will solve itself.

            Thanks for making it incredibly apparent that you’re just an ignorant, misogynistic shit-head worth ignoring.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            You made it apparent you can’t read or just came to troll. None of my posts even imply doing nothing as an option (or that the “chicks” involved are dumb). They’re all about doing more and doing better. Trying to bury the truth under insults doesn’t really work as you can see my posts are right there silly.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Sorry. This is not the age of transgenderism. Transgenders are a miniscule minority. People who are in the process of switching gender, are an even smaller group. To call a period an age of something, that something needs to be noteworthy.

        That’s why adding ‘identify as a women’ is just silly and more likely something to rile people up. Not only because they are such a small group adding them specifically makes no sense. But because as far as those people are concerned they are women, and don’t just ‘identify as women’, which sounds like they are ‘fake women’.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Even if you are correct, who the hell cares or should care?

        • airmikee99 says:

          So your understanding of human biology equates to a pile of dog shit?

          Transgender doesn’t exclusively deal with people that are willingly changing their sex through a medical procedure, it also covers the varied XY chromosome combinations that produce something other than a ‘man’ or ‘woman’.

          If people get riled up because other people are different, that’s their own fucking problem. We don’t need to be making accommodations for bigots, the intolerant, and those too stupid to study human biology before spouting a retarded opinion on the topic.

          And even if they are only a small segment of the overall population, treating them as less than human or less than equal still isn’t right, especially in a supposedly, alleged, free society.

          edit: I apologize to any piles of dog shit that were offended by my comparison of this brainless moron to you.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      I’m transgender and I really don’t like the “identifies as a woman” phrase. I AM a woman, end of story. Saying that I “identify as a woman” suggests otherwise.

      • soldant says:

        But I thought that’s a decision for the morality crusade to make?

    • Gap Gen says:


      EDIT: But I do agree that perhaps the issue is deeper, and in general society should stop putting people in gender boxes.

    • thecommoncold says:

      Yes, please. This is gonna make me unpopular for sure…

      The issue I have with “identify as…” is that in many cases (though I’m willing to admit exceptions, like in cases of hormonal imbalances, etc.) the identification comes down to self-perception of where one fits into a societal construct of masculinity and femininity, and this opens the doors for systemic abuse when self-perception is by nature subjective.

      As an admittedly imperfect analogy – if someone in their 50’s self-identifies as someone age 15 because they “feel young at heart,” or in a more tragic case, if they have a developed such that their cognitive and emotional state are that of someone much younger, should they be subject to juvenile punishments under the law, or should statutory limitations be lifted from this person because they perceive themselves as young? The idea seems absurd to me, not to mention easily abused.

      If Johnny tells people he is a woman because he feels that way inside (regardless of the verifiability of the claim), can he join the girl’s basketball team at his high school, or use the women’s restroom without reproach? I hear so often that, in fact, he can and sometimes should. But why should Johnny’s feminine self-perception be given more credence than the “youthful” self-perception of someone else? (Note: In no way do I mean to imply or claim that people who identify with a gender other than their biological at-birth sex are developmentally disabled. I apologize for any offense from my admittedly imperfect analogy here…)

      I’m not arguing against an idea of femininity and masculinity and the left, right, up, down, or otherwise one can be on that gender spectrum. I’m just saying that sometimes I get the sense that “gender” has gone too far, and we forget about or downplay the biological concept of sex and the special, important, and beautiful differences those entail.

  3. Jamesworkshop says:

    Jamesworkshop is not a lady

    oh i see games workshop

    adepta sororitas codi, then :)

    link to

  4. I Got Pineapples says:

    This is a very good thing. The gender gap in coding borders on the disturbing.

    That said, I’m hoping they don’t just encourage the navel gazing scenesterism of the NY art games movement but actually produce something more interesting.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    “The Code Liberation Foundation offers free game development workshops for people identifying as women in New York City. So far they’ve provided short courses on C++”

    I’m not sure that having people spend forever typing out header files, figuring out the Buckaroo-inspired pointer model and hunting down memory leaks because a 44-year old language is jammed up in there like a huge cyst is particularly liberating, but there you go.

    • Geebs says:

      I definitely agree that it’s utterly ridiculous to be placing emphasis on what people identify as when they could be getting into deeply entrenched and ancient arguments about programming languages instead!

      BTW I am very encouraged to hear that they’ve had such an enthusiastic response

  6. FF56 says:

    So…. if I’m a guy and want to learn I guess I’m shit out of luck.
    Somehow I don’t think that the way to solve sexism is to do the exact same thing you’re trying to fight. Basically they want stop women from feeling excluded from the games industry by creating a course where men are excluded….

    • Gap Gen says:

      Oh no there are no programming courses for men you are shit out of luck yes.

      I think some element of “corrective” sexism is necessary sometimes if we’re shooting for a goal of gender equality. Empowering women as a distinct group can be a step towards that, I think.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        I’m not disagreeing with you on the occasional need for corrective sexism, but when was the last time you saw a “Men Only” programming course?

        • Gap Gen says:

          I assumed that the statement at the start of your comment answers the question at the end?

          Bear in mind that this doesn’t seem to be a government programme or something like that, and it seems like you can say “I’m a woman” and get in even if you have fifteen penises up in there. But yeah, if we’re going all out on banishing gender from all societies then I’d happily ban the Catholic Church from refusing female clergy, or forcing strip clubs to fire 50:50 male female strippers, or whatever. Dunno if that’s exactly what we’re shooting for, but it’d be fun.

      • SillyWizard says:

        I disagree. “Corrective” discrimination is still discrimination. If you’re attempting to address discrimination in a significant way, you need to be very careful about how you go about doing it.

        Generally, the natural human tendency is to group together with the safe and the familiar. Because these women are being introduced to this subject matter in an all-female (identifying…though doesn’t that leave out WTM TG people and the QQ* categories entirely?) environment, I would be worried that the result would lead many, most, or all of the students to exclusively work together, and not be comfortable coding in a mixed-gender office space.

        I would expect it would be more constructive to have rigid enrollment guidelines of 50% women and 50% men. That way both populations learn to code while also learning to appreciate what their co-students bring to the table. Then when some of the men move on and find themselves in a male-dominated workspace, they can remember, “Hey, working with…people identifying as women was great! We should do more of that.” Also vice versa, in case some of the women end up at lady-only (or lady-dominated) studios.

        *QQ as in Questioning and Queer from the LBGTQQ designation; not as in crybaby thing.

        • Geebs says:

          I don’t think they were even bringing up the topic of sexual orientation – there’s a risk here that by making these sorts of distinctions you’re going to give the impression that they’re splitting hairs where actually they have a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve which informs their policy

        • Consumatopia says:

          “Corrective” discrimination is still discrimination.

          It’s not necessarily still sexism, though. If you see that society grants group X some unfair privileges and you balance that working to help group Y, you might technically be engaged in discrimination, but it has nothing to do with bigotry or bias.

          It’s like people insisting that we be “colorblind” in the United States. White people (like me) accrued huge material advantages during centuries of racial oppression that we’ve passed down to each other over the generations. It doesn’t make sense to say “okay, everyone’s equal starting…NOW!”, because then we still get to keep all the property and heritable privileges that were built up during that oppression.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            I absolutely agree, well said.

          • SillyWizard says:

            My poor white ancestors were poor white people. I certainly haven’t been given any huge material advantages. And while it’s great talk about how I’m privileged simply by being a white man, for many of us, that “privilege” doesn’t exist. Being a poor white man is pretty frustrating in a world where privilege is assumed for you, and you’re automatically disqualified from any of the hundreds of scholarships and grants earmarked exclusively for minorities of one flavor or another.

            And it’s getting worse: my poor white girlfriend, despite being (and identifying as) a woman, isn’t eligible for any of the scholarships or grants offered by her grad school, because they’re all either explicitly targeting minorities, or don’t have any stated requirements, but are granted to the more “diverse” students anyway.

            I don’t know about your ancestors, Consumatopia, but mine weren’t slave owners, and there are no profits earned off the backs of slaves that are giving me a leg up in the world.

            Discrimination is fucking discrimination, and that’s really the end of it. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” may be a quaint platitude, but it’s fucking correct. If you go back far enough, everyone has an ancestor who did something fucked up, and it’s asinine to try and hold later generations responsible for the sins of their (or someone else’s) fathers.

            When does it stop? Do you think African nations at the height of their power didn’t hold white slaves a few thousand years ago? Don’t be naive. This whole idea that we’re going to fix shit by breaking it in a different direction is pre-school bullshit.

          • Consumatopia says:

            I had an ancestor on the Mayflower, so simply given how many antebellum white American ancestors I have, I’m sure some had slaves. But you don’t have to go back that far to find racial oppression. Consider how blacks were excluded from, or not in a position to benefit from the New Deal and GI Bill–both of which benefited my maternal grandparents. (It wasn’t my grandparents’ fault, they were anti-segregation Republicans, but they still benefited).

            You’re certainly correct that race and gender disadvantages do not exhaust injustice in this country. A poor white guy, a rich black guy, and a rich white woman are all going to be disadvantaged relative to a rich white guy. So when someone starts a programming school for poor people, racial minorities, or women, I’m not going to object.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I really don’t see how women having the opportunity to study software development but preferring instead to study something else is a form of discrimination.

            If someone is motivated to evangelize the subject to women I don’t see anything sexist about or anything don’t get me wrong. I just find a lot of the commentary around the subject to be well intentioned but ill informed.

          • Consumatopia says:

            They have the opportunity, but not the same opportunity. They don’t have as many role models, as many colleagues like themselves, or a supportive culture. As players they’re more likely to be harassed, as developers more likely to be ignored.

            Note that this would all be true even if there were some bizarre innate reason why XX chromosome pair drive people to be nurses and XY to engineers. What (hypothetically) started as a purely biological gender imbalance could compound itself through network effects–fewer females innately interested in game development means a smaller community of female developers which in turn makes it even harder to be a female developer.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Actually it is a fact that, at least where I am from, girls have greater opportunity than boys. Entrance to college is based purely on state exam results and girls get better results than boys.

            You appear to assume that they are are making a choice which goes against their best interests when they decide to pursue other form of education and you assume that their choice is influenced by real or perceived discrimination within the discipline.

            The latter assumption appears baseless to me and my own assumption is that the disciplines image problem is just that its perceived as unglamorous.

            The former assumption is patronising to be honest. You can just as easily say that boys are not making optimal decisions by choosing software development over potentially better careers.

          • Consumatopia says:

            You’re assuming that I’m assuming things that I’m not assuming. ;-)

            In particular, I make no assumption about how many man or women, in total, would or should naturally want to become game developers. I assume only that there are some men who want to be developers, there are some women.

            I also assume that fewer women in a field makes it harder for a woman to enter into it. This seems to be the overwhelming opinion of those women who choose to enter male dominated fields. There are multiple, if not innumerable, potential causes of this difficulty, but I don’t need to make any assumptions about cause. In particular, I don’t need to assume that this difference in difficulty was caused by bias, bigotry, patriarchy, etc. Even if the only reason there are fewer female game devs is that game development is that women just naturally are less likely to want to be game devs, that still makes it unfairly harder for those women who do want to be game devs.

            Actually, I don’t even have to assume that. Even if, implausibly, 100% of the gender discrepancy was due to innate desire, and it were just as easy for a woman to become a game dev as a man, there are a lot of reasons why gaming would be better (more profitable, more interesting, more entertaining) with more female devs. For there are plenty of women playing games, and there is lots of room to sell them more. Female devs would be more interested in appealing to female players. There are a lot more clones of CoD than The Sims.

            So I think I can go heroically far in granting you assumptions without my conclusions having to change.

            Re: standardized tests, I don’t rule out that males are being disadvantaged here. In particular, I would point the finger at a masculine culture that puts too much emphasis on risk taking, rebellion, athletics and even violence as values, with not enough emphasis on self-discipline and cooperation. In my own boyhood I remember a widespread disdain for people who we perceived to be be striving too hard that I don’t think was shared among girls. (Then again I grew up in the 90s, which were burdened with a slacker culture and an obsession with authenticity).

          • WrenBoy says:

            I think you slightly misread my point. I was saying that by encouraging women who are able but uninclined to become software developers you are not doing them a favour unless you assume that they are making a mistake by choosing a different discipline. I dont have to be a mind reader to state this.

            However I see now that you appear to be arguing that you are not necessarily trying to do potential future female developers a favour but are also interested in doing a favour to software development by supplying it with better candidates and to the consumers who would presumably benefit from superior products.

            As a developer myself, I would agree that improving the quality of the pool of new software developers is a worthy ambition and it is one that I share. That is why I have not criticized this kind of evangelism of the discipline to women. I dont see how it is a fight against discrimination of females in or wishing to enter software development though. And this is how you seem to see it.

            I cant speak for games development as I do not work in that field but in software development in general there are fewer women also. As someone who occassionally recruits graduate developers and who works with others who do the same I can tell you that I see no disadvantage to being a woman when presenting yourself as a candidate. If anything it is more likely to be a slight advantage in my experience as I have heard managers expressing a preference for mixed gender teams and I have heard various male devs put pressure on their manager to choose the female candidate, especially when they are in a mostly male environment. That is not to say discrimination never occurs, but given my own experience it would take a convincing argument to persuade me that it is as systematic as you seem to believe.

            Just to clarify, I was not complaing about boys results being weaker than girls. The system is not perfect in terms of pure education but it is perfectly fair. If boys want better results they can study as hard as the girls.

            Finally, it seems self evident to me that the male female split in software development is mainly due to social norms dictating what are desirable fields for men to study and what are desirable fields for women. Im not sure whether you see this as a bad thing but if so I should point out that these are the same forces which make the Sims games more desirable for women to play.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Finally, it seems self evident to me that the male female split in software development is mainly due to social norms dictating what are desirable fields for men to study and what are desirable fields for women.

            I would agree that if those social norms were the only factor, that would be enough to make large differences in field choice. I’m not sure they would be as large as what we see now. I think another major factor is that the practitioners of some fields are simply more likely to have the social skills necessary to deal with newcomers who are different than themselves. So we shouldn’t be surprised if sociology is a more welcoming field for women than engineering.

            I think in the case of game development specifically, sexism seems to be so rife in gamer culture that I find it implausible that it’s not a factor among developers as well–though I expect the developers to reform themselves before the players.

            However, even assuming social norms for field choice are the only factor, that’s still a problem. There’s a huge, huge difference between social norms and individual choice. For a woman who wants to be a game dev, those social norms make things harder for her, and that’s true regardless of how those social norms came to pass. That added difficulty is unfair.

            Im not sure whether you see this as a bad thing but if so I should point out that these are the same forces which make the Sims games more desirable for women to play.

            Not sure how true that is. If you didn’t know anything about gender, if you simply looked individually at the tasks of software development, 3d modeling, scriptwriting, simulation/interactivity design and project management, and asked whether the people skilled at those tasks would prefer to play a life simulator game or a reflex-driven military FPS game, it’s far from clear to me that they would naturally tend choose the latter. If it is social norms that are causing both career choice and game preference, then those norms appear to me to be very arbitrary.

          • WrenBoy says:

            If I were to make a serious guess as to why software development is not more popular with women I would rather say its because its associated with socially backward men, and women would rather not have the same association made with them. Thats just a wild guess though as are your own theories. Without evidence they are just not useful.

            I’m less confident about video game development as I have no direct experience with it and I have heard some horror stories but its still a wild guess to say that that there is a link between sexism in online gaming communities and sexism in game development.

            Its just as possible that its reputation for long hours is offputting to any sensible man or woman. I’m quite happy with my 9-6 development job as I value time with my family for instance.

            I’m not saying that the alternative explanations I’m proposing are correct or even more plausible than your own. All I’m saying is that you don’t really know so its better to avoid assumptions unless you have good evidence.

            Finally regarding my The Sims comment, what I was trying to say was that social norms are what encourage males to play war games and females to play social games, just as social norms appear to encourage men rather than women to become software developers. I was making no comment on the kind of games developers themselves would prefer.

            In any case you are correct when you say the social norms appear arbitrary. Surely social norms are inherently arbitrary.

          • Consumatopia says:

            A correlation can have multiple causes. It is not that we are trying to guess the ONE factor the causes the correlation. I suspect that all or most of the causes we’re talking about play some role, and none of them are “wild” guesses.

            We don’t have to guess as to whether the corporations that make games are sexist. That sexism is apparent in the way they interact with their fans, the way they market their games, and in the games themselves. I suppose it is theoretically possible that these companies have a sexist outer-shell that encloses a totally egalitarian work environment–don’t know, haven’t worked there–and furthermore that potential female applicants are totally okay with the sexist outer shell and have 100% certainty that it doesn’t mean they’ll be treated in a sexist way if they choose to work there. Doesn’t sound likely to me.

            If there is a statistical gender discrepancy, and a strong possibility that this discrepancy has some improper causes, that justifies working to ease barriers for the possibly excluded gender. It’s a matter of which potential downside is worse–that people might wrongly suspect that an industry that makes sexist games also has a sexism problem with personnel, or that women are discriminated against and no one does anything to address it. I think it obvious that the latter downside is worse–that when we’re looking for discrimination, a Type II error is a much more harmful than a Type I error.

            If the social norms of gender are arbitrary, then of course we should work to make it easier to discard those norms. Not because the majority of women or men are somehow doing the wrong thing, but freedom is inherently good, and we should make it easier for people of both genders to draw outside the lines, so to speak. Note, however, that we can’t say that every time the perspectives of men and women differ that this difference is simply arbitrary. Whether because of biology or arbitrary social norm, women and men find themselves in different situations. Even if the situations themselves are arbitrarily created, the perspectives from those situations are still real and distinct.

            As an example, segregation laws in my country following our civil war were completely arbitrary–there was certainly nothing about blacks themselves that justified discrimination. The perspective of being on the receiving end of racial oppression was crucial in the invention of blues and jazz music here. But I don’t think it would be accurate to say that the same forces and social norms that caused segregation also caused jazz. it might be true as a matter of physical, Newtonian causality (with Laplace’s Demon predicting Louis Armstrong, I guess), but it completely elides the autonomy and creativity of the musicians themselves, as well as their audience.

            In any event, most of what I’m saying applies to game preferences too. If there are arbitrary barriers to women playing CoD (harassment being the most obvious one) or to men playing The Sims, I would like those barriers to be lowered. That doesn’t mean we need to work for both games to have a 50/50 split.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            We’re not discussing gaming, where everyone gets abused regardless of gender I should add, we’re discussing education. Hearing insults while playing COD (which is only one heavily advertised part of a rather large industry that has products appealing to all sorts of people and moods, another such part would be WoW which plenty women play, another would be Super Mario which every gamer plays, and so on) doesn’t dictate career choices and even if it did, how does offering such seminars change things, you’re basically saying that they’re trapping women, making them think they can find such friendly environments in the real world when according to you they’re more likely to be heavily abused when the time comes and they get a real job in the industry (if such a thing is even possible by such seminars, again I see nothing about degrees and many of the women involved aren’t teachers).

          • WrenBoy says:

            You are effectively using hideously discriminatory and racist laws and practices to illustrate a point about a simple preference made in complete freedom. To say that is ill advised is an understatement.

            It doesn’t really matter if there are many causes or one overriding cause for this preference. Speculation without evidence is inherently wild.

            It is of course completely possible that the social forces impacting gender preferences for professions are different than those impacting gender preferences for games. What I meant is whatever is causing such preferences are the same class of thing. To be absolutely clear my position is that The Sims should in no way be seen as discriminatory towards men.

          • Consumatopia says:

            You are effectively using hideously discriminatory and racist laws and practices to illustrate a point about a simple preference made in complete freedom. To say that is ill advised is an understatement.

            Right, you’re losing the argument, so you’re gonna play that card. I guess that’s my mistake for trying to argue in good faith.

            Obviously, I’m not comparing anything to segregation. But there’s no such thing as “complete freedom”. Social norms impose unfair costs on individuals who would prefer to deviate from the norm. And, in particular, given the prevalence of sexual harassment, assault, and rape throughout the world it’s a bit offensive to say women live in “complete freedom”–some social norms are enforced in terrifying ways. No, it’s not comparable to lynching. But there’s nothing wrong with using segregation to illustrate my claim that there’s a huge difference between a social norm and a collective preference–they might be the difficult to disentangle, but they aren’t the same class of thing. Social norms are imposed on us from the outside, preferences are chosen by us.

            [EDIT: I want to emphasize, if you actually want to discuss something sincerely, you’d better drop this I-am-shocked,-SHOCKED act about someone mentioning segregation right now. Seriously, this thread is full of people (not you) complaining about how opening a short game development seminar for women represents “discrimination”, “two wrongs make a right” and “the ends justify the means”. And now you’re catching the vapors over someone mentioning Jim Crow and Jazz? Come off it.]

            It doesn’t really matter if there are many causes or one overriding cause for this preference. Speculation without evidence is inherently wild.

            It is not a “wild” guess that a corporation that produces sexist games, markets them in a sexist way, and tolerates a sexist fan base might also have sexism in the workplace. It’s a guess, sure. It’s a perfectly reasonable, educated guess.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I honestly don’t see what card I am playing. I assumed that you were not seriously making a segregation comparison as you appear to be a reasonable person. Its still an entirely inappropriate comparison and you are still insisting on continuing it. You appear to be now implying that rape is somehow related to an under representation of women in software development. I assume that this is hyperbole rather than a serious point but it is just as ill advised.

            In any case I have been careful not to defend the game industry directly as I would be speaking from ignorance and I’ve been careful to say that from the anecdotes I have heard its possible that you are correct but, with this caveat, its not at all sure that your guess is probable.

            As an example I work for an industry which is unambiguously evil in the impact it has on society and on the world. To a man and woman all of my colleagues are good people and all employees and contractors in my department are treated as fairly as though our paymasters were doing the work of angels.

            To be fair though I should say that I work for a very large organisation and many game developers are part of a much smaller organisation so perhaps I am fortunate in how buffered I am from the companys exterior. I still consider speculation without evidence to be inherently wild however.

            Edit: As a reply to your edit, I find it unsurprising that people on the internet make inappropriate comparisons. Noone has compared the code liberation efforts to be literally worse than the nazis so I guess there are worse places than RPS.

            On the other hand you came across as an intelligent reasonable person and I was honestly surprised to read that in a reply from you. As I’ve consistently said my only disagreement with you is that while you could be right I think your confidence is misplaced given the information you have shared with me.

          • Consumatopia says:

            “I assumed that you were not seriously making a segregation comparison as you appear to be a reasonable person. ”

            Then that should have been the end of it. Everything else is just absurd. No, when the topic is discrimination, it is not out of bounds to make an analogy with segregation. This does not remotely imply any sort of equivalence.

            “You appear to be now implying that rape is somehow related to an under representation of women in software development. I assume that this is hyperbole rather than a serious point but it is just as ill advised. “

            I am telling you, seriously, that the culture of harassment and violence that women face can change the context under which men and women interact in any sphere. Social norms form a seamless fabric, with some women getting in the habit of conforming to them just to avoid trouble. If girls with masculine interests are harassed or singled out by boys or other girls, then of course we shouldn’t be surprised to see girls less likely to choose fields that are coded as masculine.

            In the specific case of game development, that’s even more likely. Even if the company establishes a firewall between public face and internal HR (and having had a strangely benign job at a military contractor myself I must concede that your counterpoint is sensible), women can’t be expected to know that with confidence.

            re: wild guess, maybe there’s a terminology difference here. To me, a “wild” guess isn’t just a guess without statistical evidence to back it up, it’s essentially a random guess. “Maybe the Illuminati did it”–that would be a wild guess. If I make a guess without taking a poll based on my limited understanding of the world, that’s simply called a…guess. If I had statistical evidence for my guess, I would call it a theory, or even a fact.

          • Consumatopia says:

            I picked segregation and blues/jazz as an example just because it’s the most obvious case of a people responding to unequal treatment with creativity. (And because I happened to be watching a documentary on jazz musicians earlier today.) Therefore it’s the best example that comes to mind of the difference I see between a social norm and a collective preference that happens to be widely shared.

            There might be other examples I could have chosen, but any example would have involved not just an unfair situation, but an unfair situation of sufficient magnitude that it causes a noticeable shift in creative culture. Anything else I pick is probably going to be about as “inappropriate” as segregation, and probably not as clear.

            I got a bit testy about it because complaints about tone or inappropriate comparisons are a frequent derailing tactic. And because, quite simply, when the topic is discrimination it’s not workable for segregation to be out of bounds.

            It doesn’t seem like analysis of the popularity of The Sims was your core point, so we should probably drop it.

          • WrenBoy says:

            While I can see the utility in using extreme examples in illustrating a point, with the internet being what it is, normally a comparison of that nature is used for intellectually dishonest rhetorical purposes. While I may be ( edit: admittedly was) treating you unfairly by such suspicion that is what I was reacting against.

            To be fair though I am engaging in hyperbole myself when I say wild guesses. Your theories are perfectly plausible but without any real evidence. In my experience even perfectly plausible theories are usually wrong when there is no evidence.

            I’m not trying to say that I’m perfect or anything. I hold beliefs which are backed by nothing other than the anecdotal evidence that is my own personal experience. At the same time, given my beliefs, I honestly think that if there is a teenage girl somewhere wanting to be a developer but hesitant because of a perception of the industry containing a greater than average amount of sexism that I would be doing her a favour by convincing her that her fears are unfounded. I actually don’t think many such teenagers exist though. I’m mainly saying this to counteract a stigma of software developers being sexist assholes.

            Actually I don’t think I’ve expressed what I see as our main difference of opinion very succinctly. My understanding of your position is that you feel that a real or perceived discrimination against women in software development is discouraging women from joining the profession. Were this true it would obviously be unfair. An initiative such as code liberation is the least which can be done.

            My own position is that there is discrimination by women against software development and that it is the software development industry rather than women which is losing out. Taste is inherently discriminatory and software development is an abstract entity so if my position is correct women are clearly well within their rights to so discriminate but as someone with an interest in the industry I welcome any effort to change this and so I wish code liberation every success.

            From my perspective whatever the underlying social norms are its not that big of a deal as while the situation is suboptimal there is no real injustice going on.

          • Consumatopia says:

            At the same time, given my beliefs, I honestly think that if there is a teenage girl somewhere wanting to be a developer but hesitant because of a perception of the industry containing a greater than average amount of sexism that I would be doing her a favour by convincing her that her fears are unfounded.

            I would say that, assuming that your beliefs were correct, reacting defensively to people’s suspicions, even if those suspicions happen to be false, doesn’t reassure anyone. In fact, if you’re correct that sexism in software development is a myth, then I strongly suspect that the behavior of many people (not you) defending the industry on the internet makes that myth worse. A perception of bias isn’t something you can argue away–it’s something the industry will have to work to demonstrate the absence of,–by working harder to recruit women, making products responsive to women’s needs, and, especially in the case of the game industry, conducting their business with more respect towards women. (And if it’s just a matter of perception, it’s plausible that the perception of game developers is dragging developers in general down.)

            It’s not so much that I’m confident of my own causal explanations, as that my suggested course of action doesn’t really depend on that explanation being true–so long as its possible for a reasonable person to believe that an industry is biased, that industry has work to do.

            In so far as the problem isn’t just software development, but in STEM fields generally, it’s a huge, huge problem. Arguably, that’s true even if it is just a matter of inborn taste–not only would women be missing out on lucrative careers and STEM be missing out on a more diverse pool of applicants, but women generally would lack critical influence over science and technology. Computers are only going to get more frighteningly powerful, and it could well be that people crafting algorithms will influence the direction of the world. If women are denied a voice in that process, democracy is at risk.

          • WrenBoy says:

            If by working harder to recruit women you mean more initiatives similar to that of Code Liberation then I agree completely with all the actions you suggest and would consider them equally useful to solving the situation regardless of which perspective is more correct.

            I think you are overestimating the impact software development professionals have on the world around them and on the viability of democracy but that is not really relevant to the perspective of either of us.

          • Consumatopia says:

            When I said “crafting algorithms”, I’m not so much thinking of the typical software engineer as the PhDs figuring out the architecture behind Google Search, recommendation systems in online markets, social networks, and generally which information is made more easily available to users and which is made more obscure. Basically, the kind of stuff in Thaler and Sunstein’s Nudge–one can exert an invisible power (sometimes even invisible to the practitioner) just by choosing how information is presented to people (and to algorithms).

    • airmikee99 says:

      Besides the imaginary roadblocks in your mind, what is preventing you from learning?

      • airmikee99 says:

        If you don’t think sexism exists in the video game culture, you’re not in the video game culture, period. If you think it’s just as easy for women to achieve the same results in this video game culture that men achieve, you’re ignorant and foolish. Men are preventing women from being treated as equals in video game culture, period. Intelligent people don’t need to debate this point, they need to address and correct the problem. In 1984, almost 40% of Computer Science degrees were awarded to women, by 1990 that had dropped to 30%, by 1998 it was down to 27%, and by 2011 it had dropped to 12%, even though during that same time frame the number of women seeking higher learning increased faster than the number of men.

        Does that answer your question, or can I do another quick Google search for you?

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          computer science degrees having nothing to do with making videogames

          only a laymen would think that

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          I think it’s a side effect of unpleasant/idiotic posts being deleted.

          • jorygriffis says:

            Oh yeah, I hadn’t considered that. No wonder there’s only 68 comments here–the RPS gang are probably busy deleting a tidal wave of abhorrent shit.

          • Premium User Badge

            Graham Smith says:

            Yep, this.

            There were some pretty brief, antagonistic (or occasionally just off topic) comments and I removed those. I’ve also been trying to keep the individual arguments – where two people just go at each other for a while – to a minimum.

            That said, not sure why that seems to be preventing people from replying with new comments.

          • McDLT says:

            This is why I prefer reddit discussions. I’d rather let the community decide the value of a post via voting and if I want to read the “offensive” posts I can.

          • Mad Hamish says:

            It’s a pity reddit is a schizophrenic shit fest just like every other asshole of the internet. It seems to have this delusion that it’s something more though. Logging in to it is the single biggest mistake I make every day. RPS posts that dare to say the word “woman” usually end of with horrible comment sections because someone links it there.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        EDIT: Weird stuff happening…..

        • almostDead says:

          Well there has been one person on this comments section that has so far identified herself as transgendered, and she claims not to like the label either.

          I hope all the people advocating for her actually asked beforehand for a majority opinion, rather than loads of people piling on claiming that they are so sensitive.

          • melnificent says:

            @AlmostDEAD as the Reply system is broken.

            Oh sorry, was dealing with the kids and running my household, you know sorting dinner, etc.

            I’m a trans* woman, and I like the term “Identifying as women”. This is down to how far into my transition I am (very far). As stated above lots of places are trans* hostile, so those 2 extra words take nothing away from the course but do add a great deal of clarity. It is a space for ALL women, regardless of how they arrived to where they are at present.

            In the trans* Community like any other there are differences of opinion about things… For example I hate the term Transsexual (medical term), even though it is my medical diagnosis as it is nothing sexual at all.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          computer science “it’s a girl thing” degree

        • hypercrisis says:

          Is that really what you think this is about?

          You might be horrified to know women have been meeting in private women only scenarios for thousands of years! Oh no!

      • Piecewise says:

        Perhaps it’s finical. These classes are being given to women, and only women, for free. If you’re not a women, you have to pay for instruction, programs, texts etc. I’m sure there are plenty of men with the desire to learn who just can’t afford the classes.

        The idea of countering sexism with sexism is like countering racism with racism. The KKK are terrible fucking people but the way to fight them isn’t to create an African American Analog that lynches random White people. This school comes from good intention and a desire to create equality, but it ironically ends up being the very definition of sexist, because it discriminates who can join based on gender. It would be equally as sexist as a school that denied women entry simply because of their gender.

        And I know what you’re gonna say, you already said it; “Sexism is ok as long as it’s aimed at men, not at women or transgender or gender queer or anything else. We have to equal out the demographic using counter-sexism.” But that sets a REALLY bad example of attempting to reach equality via sectioning everything off into competing cliques separated by gender or sexual orientation or race.

        Let me ask you this: Why not a school to teach coding for free (or for cheap) to anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, etc? Why isn’t that the better ideal to shoot for? It still gives women the same opportunity as this school, but it also gives it to men and anyone else.

        I just don’t get why people are screaming “Sexism” at something like only men showing up on a panel or something, yet an entire school dedicated to teaching only one sex to the exclusion of any others is praised? It’s Hypocrisy at its finest.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Firstly, It’s not an entire school, it’s a small group of people.

          Secondly, a course open to anyone would be exactly the same as what we have already, where around 80-90% of the attendants are men. Why on earth do you imagine it would be any different?

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Because even if they opened it to men they could still take the same effort in advertising and showing how it’s friendly to women and making a big deal out of that aspect and even fixing the results behind the scenes to ensure they have at least equal or more women than men. In turn they would be ending up with a course that doesn’t promote a reversal of roles but encourages equality in the men and women participating and those who see it from the outside. Simple. The environment would still be a controlled one and it would still have the goal of eliminating sexism and including women, but it would be sending that message to every sex, not just to women. Sexism won’t stop by teaching one sex it’s good but just aimed at the wrong sex, it will stop by promoting equality in both genders.

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: GamesInquirer

            “Sexism won’t stop by teaching one sex it’s good but just aimed at the wrong sex, it will stop by promoting equality in both genders.”

            Really? Women started working for equality in societies in the late 19th century, it began with the Women’s Suffrage movement to get equality in voting, it continued into the civil rights movement with women and minorities getting special protections to help them reach equality, it continued even further with the strengthening of sexual harassment laws that protect men and woman equally. So we have over 100 years of promoting equality in both genders, and do women feel equal? Obviously not if they created this class, right?

            According to your standards, equality should have already been achieved because multiple movements have pushed for equality amongst all genders. Yet it hasn’t happened, will you consider that maybe your solution is not a solution at all and it’s just a way to keep the status quo?

          • GamesInquirer says:

            Were women finally given their rightful, er, right to vote, by protesting by having women-only elections over who would be your president? Or was women-only elections their goal? No, they wanted to be included in the decisions everyone else was included in, and achieved it. And no, equality by exclusion wasn’t only attempted for the first time here while everyone in “the past” was doing it “my” way before and failed, nor did I say it would magically happen without hard work, get your facts straight.

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: RE: GamesInquirer

            Keep living in the past, bigot.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            So all you really like to do is attempt to offend random people on the internet, and fail anyway. Bravo. So very unlike a privileged white male.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        No, women are not *prevented* from joining other IT courses. However, given the massive gender imbalance in IT jobs and IT courses, something is obviously acting as a barrier.

        Also, given that this initiative has been started by women who work in IT, I’m guessing that they might have some ideas of what it might be discouraging other women. Plus some ideas about what might help.

        EDIT: I’m going to assume it was a technical issue that caused your post to disappear then reappear – rather than an attempt to get rid of the responses.

        • SillyWizard says:

          Maybe fewer women want to work in IT…?! Anybody ever think of that? Women and men are different. It makes sense for certain jobs to appeal more to one gender than another. You don’t need to cry sexism every time there’s an imbalance.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            in reply to SillyWizard: You are 100% right, however, they have point as well. Of course not many women would want to code, but those who would will appreciate a safe place to do so.

            Where are all the male kindergarten teachers, huh?

          • Mokinokaro says:

            Women tend to dominate in service (and health, but to a lesser extent) industries. It’s a simple fact.

            There may be less male kindergarten teachers (or grade school teachers in general,) but when you get to the college/university level things often become male dominated or at least close to equal. There’s a simple social fact that most parents are more comfortable leaving their young children in the care of a woman than a man.

            It’s the same thing with a lot of corporations. There are tons of women working in the corporate world, from the office clerks to the lower to mid rungs of upper administration. But there are very few female CEOs. However, I think a lot of this is due to most CEOs being baby boomers in their 50s-70s. It’s a generation that probably doesn’t have as many women qualified for the positions as men due to 50s-60s views on education and gender roles. I suspect it’s a self-correcting issue as the boomers leave the corporate world and leave vacant spots open for already successful female managers.

          • RedViv says:

            SillyWizard: Luckily no woman who ever wanted to code or did code for months or years or decades was ever shut out of her job because of meyksandwichisms, otherwise that statement would really look like it was made by a silly wizard.

          • SillyWizard says:

            RedViv says: Luckily no woman who ever wanted to code or did code for months or years or decades was ever shut out of her job because of meyksandwichisms, otherwise that statement would really look like it was made by a silly wizard.

            I honestly don’t know what you’re trying to say here. It’s sad when women are told to make sandwiches at work? Okay. I found it sad when senior, better-qualified people in my office were routinely passed over for promotion because they weren’t gay or hispanic, and newly hired gay or hispanic people were invariably promoted extremely quickly. Do you propose that a program providing support exclusively for straight non-hispanics is called for?

            In this day and age it’s extremely easy to discriminate against the supposedly “privileged.” Yay! Serves ’em right!

            It’s fucking nonsense is what it is.

            EDIT: Clarifying who I’m replying to, because broken.

          • jrodman says:

            The tears of the privileged.

          • JoshuaMadoc says:

            SillyWizard: “Serves ’em right”. Wow. Now I *really* want to punch you in the face.

          • ChatterLumps says:

            SillyWizard you are living up to your name because there is a very strong history of women in computer science. The first programmer was a woman (Ada Lovelace) and IT was even considered a woman’s job until men started perpetuating the myth that the opposite was true (link to

            So then you have to ask yourself why there are so few women in IT and in STEM careers in general? It likely has to do with the alienation by men that is described in this article, necessitating organizations such as the Code Liberation Foundation!

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: ChatterLumps

            This, this, oh god, a thousand times this.

            edit: Why does the comment system break for every article about sexism?

          • SillyWizard says:


            My apologies, I missed the bit where I said that women have never been involved in computery things at any level?

            That article to me is more about the Aspergering of computer programming than the masculinization thereof.

          • McDLT says:

            Then why are there so few women creating kickstarters to get their games made? There’s nothing stopping them from learning code with the vast resources of the internet. I’ve never attended a single programming class and yet I am able to code.

          • JoshuaMadoc says:

            I *really* want to punch you in the face right now.

    • Shooop says:

      Try to read more than just the first question next time.

  7. MajorManiac says:

    This seems like a good idea, as encouraging more diverse people to pick up programming can only be a good thing (yes I’m a programmer).

    But I always get concerned when people try to achieve inclusivity by means of exclusivity. It just feels wrong. Like the excuse ‘the end justifies the means’.

    • almostDead says:

      No, no, no, now that gaming is okay and cool, and there’s money to be made, all those that weren’t interested before can now claim subjugation and get fawned over.

  8. NotToBeLiked says:

    Even though I’m usually against positive discrimination I think this is a good thing. It doesn’t give women an advantage, it just gives them the possibility to do something (learning) that might be harder to achieve because they are female. It’s still up to them to do something useful with it, which is the best way to get the real talent to show up.

    I hope these sorts of initiatives become more prevalent than the whole “all game devs hate women! stop hating women! make games for women!” whining. In this age of indie games it’s entirely possible to make the games the way some people want. It will just need a few successful indie titles that become hits because they appeal to women to show the guys in suits that there is a market for that.

  9. emmett9001 says:

    I think CLF is an incredibly important initiative for a number of reasons, but my favorite is this: being deliberately excluded from a group allows men to feel what woman developers feel all time.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Yes. Yes. Could not have put that better if I’d tried.

  10. hypercrisis says:

    just makes me wonder why isn’t this stuff taught in public schools by now?

    • SillyWizard says:

      That’s a very good question.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Because knowing a programming language means you can make more money than if you were a teacher, and you don’t have to be a teacher, I suppose.

      • Consumatopia says:

        If you stop and think about it, though, it’s kind of absurd that people paid to train human beings are paid less than people paid to train computers.

        I’m not really sure that someone with a high school degree who knows a programming language has such great career prospects, though. As far as vocational training goes, is programming really the way to go?

        • WrenBoy says:

          It depends how you look at it really. If it seems reasonable to you that it is more pleasant to “train” a human than “train” a machine then its perhaps understandable that it takes a greater financial incentive to train machines.

          I think people overestimate how much more financially rewarding software development is than teaching also. Much of my family are teachers and I can tell you that while I would earn less had I become a teacher the wage gap is small enough that I have never out earned my dad who works in primary school teaching despite my having over a decades experience in software development.

          Part of this is due to teachers receiving a generous salary in Ireland compared to a lot of other countries. I see education as important and don’t therefore see this as a problem. I now live in France which appears to pay a much smaller salary to its teachers. By chance a lot of my french friends are teachers. They appear to be at least as well educated and just as motivated as their better paid Irish counterparts (although public sector pay is now being reduced in Ireland of course).

          Without getting into the rights and wrongs of the situation it seems to me that teaching is a vocation which people choose for reasons unrelated to the salary.

          • Consumatopia says:

            In the States, some teachers are highly paid and some are underpaid, and it’s mostly dependent on seniority, but it varies widely between states and local districts within states as well.

            But, yeah, it is basically the diamonds/water paradox.

    • soldant says:

      Because I don’t need to code?

      I work in healthcare, I don’t need to know C++ to do that. Public schools are for equipping people with a general working knowledge of the world around them so that they can go on to specialise in whatever interests them. It isn’t to teach you everything and anything. I might as well ask why they don’t teach you systematic patient assessment or IV cannulation in high school – because it’s freakin’ irrelevant for most people.

      (Disclaimer: I did programming in high school as an elective.)

      • Consumatopia says:

        C++ would be totally excessive, but the capacity to break a task up into it’s simplest steps, the way programming requires one to, is part of having a general knowledge of the world. Some important philosophical and even political questions come down to the theory of algorithms and information theory (just an example off the top of my head, here is Cosma Shaliza’s argument that it would have been physically impossible for the Soviets to build a super computer to run their economy). Not that I expect a generalist to be able to work Shaliza’s result themselves or even follow too closely along, but they ought to be able to understand the basics–that some problems get MUCH harder with the scale of the input, to the point that they would take unimaginably long time to solve.

        I can think of many other more critical areas of knowledge that students are lacking (statistics especially), but algorithms, logic, and information theory are not just a trade skills, they represent general knowledge much like calculus or literature.

        • soldant says:

          That doesn’t mean you need to teach computer programming, rather a method of thinking. That’s an option but unless you can demonstrate practical applications (and for most people, programming has no application) they’re simply not going to retain it or understand its relevance.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Most people don’t find practical applications for trigonometry, either. Yeah, retention is an issue, but that’s true of all other general studies.

            Computer programming is, essentially, the method of thinking I’m talking about. Breaking a relatively complex task into mechanically simple instructions simply is programming.

            Probably not even an entire semester is necessary, even just a few weeks playing with something like Python, just so they know what programming a computer is.

  11. strangeloup says:

    I misread the title, and thought “heh, there are -never- any women in Games Workshop”.

  12. DuneTiger says:

    I think it’s important not to mix up what the intention of this course is for. It’s expected that these kinds of comments are going to show up whenever gender issues and gaming cross lines, but the point of the matter isn’t to create equality via exclusivity. It’s simply to give women a place where they are comfortable learning subject matter that might otherwise be difficult to get into.

    Think about it this way – you’re a big fatty who has decided to go to the gym like everyone else. The intention is to go and get fit and start a healthy lifestyle, but there’s the consideration of you being the big fatty in a room full of fit people (no, not all gyms are like this, but that’s the general assumption). Now, many people would rather simply find an alternative than to risk embarassment, which is unfortunate. Of course it’s not always going to turn out as it is perceived, but it’s always difficult to go into a place knowing you’re going to be the odd one out.

    In many ways, this breaks down that barrier for women in IT. Whether or not you agree with exclusivity or the “identify as a woman” thing, keep in mind that the point of this is to encourage more women to come out and learn these things as there might be an actual interest (and given reported attendance, it looks like it’s pretty good).

    So morals aside, it’s a good idea.

    • GamesInquirer says:

      Morals aside, really? I wouldn’t be so swift to equate every science class as people who treat women like fit people may at times look down on fat people. Or women in science as fat people who clearly can’t keep up with the fit people who are, what, the males? And it somehow only happens in science classes even though women and men interact taking many of the same classes all around the world? I think the reason is what women are generally taught they should and could do when they grow up not including science rather than that every university treats females like shit if only they happen to choose such a class. This isn’t anonymous Xbox Live harassment or even gaming itself or its industry in general we’re discussing, it’s EDUCATION. Which schools and universities are allowed to be so misogynist and is it really contained to science classes alone if they really are like that? Nobody said don’t promote these classes to girls either, just that they could promote it to them while still providing an environment of mixed genders that are treated equally, in turn educating both sexes rather than emphasizing to one sex that it’s so hard they need special care and if that special care wasn’t there, as in real life, they could never make it unscathed. Encourage women to join established IT courses already available, offer scholarships if you wish, and so on, rather than make girls only clubs without established degrees.

    • MajorManiac says:


      I absolutely agree with your sentiment. But do find it very sad when I hear analogies like your’s – “women feel like a fat person in a gym full of fit people when it comes to the IT industry”. As I’m sure you’ll agree women have no mental disadvantage when it comes to understanding IT in the real world.

      So I do want women, who wish to get a career in any industry, to have a comfortable place to start. But then this is only true for me, as I include women in the umbrella term of people, and I want all people to have a comfortable place to start their careers. So its a shame they cannot do this together. As there should always be a starter level course for any subject. Perhaps this is where the education system has failed?

      And to repeat my earlier post; phrases like – “So morals aside, it’s a good idea.” and “the end justifies the means” are very scary to me. As many atrocious acts of history have been justified by this line of thinking. True that this is at the harmless end of the spectrum, but its a way of thinking that should not be relied upon.

    • Snack says:

      Going beyond all the well polished lingo explaining anything but proving that there’s a lot to work to be done before we can conclude that genders are equal. Saying that having groups labeled as: “Code Liberation Foundation” as if there is some sort of oppression from which women have to be liberated only manage to create a clear differentiation between genders. Why should anyone support such segregation?
      As for the ladies willing to get in the industry, work hard, get together work some more, make games, sell games and I’m sure nobody will ever oppose you.
      Just in case nobody is paying attention, male/boys are failing/dropping out of school and yet nobody is taking any measures or even talk seriously about it. link to And then we have non stories like the oppressed girls in video game industry a tired attempt to force feed males with guilt in order to move aside for no good reason.
      “We need to close the gender gap in games.” Why is there a “need” to close this gap, what is to be gained from it, solely from the VG perspective?
      In what sense lowering standards link to and handing free rides trough affirmative actions will improve anything?
      The only oppression or down looking comes exactly from the same people that are pushing these actions therefore ingraining the idea that women/girls are victims. If I was a women I would stop listening to anyone that is constantly telling me how big of a victim I’m.

  13. Shooop says:

    It’s disgusting anyone even needs this sort of thing because of how quietly misogynist the industry tends to be.

  14. DestroyYourEgo says:

    Nice! The movement has begun! Very great news, and I wish nothing but the best for these women, and any others looking to get into the biz!

  15. jorygriffis says:

    It’s easy to find evidence of discrimination against women in the games and tech industries. I remember a couple of great posts on fucknovideogames with some great anecdotes about this, and then there was the whole #1reasonwhy movement. It’s not at all hard to find more. Personally I think the only way to disavow this kind of experience is to willfully ignore it.

    I’m not trying to derail you with “ad hominems” or whatever here, but it’s hard to take your willingness to discuss these things as being earnest when the post that started this discussion finds you being such a dick about other people’s identities that affect you in literally no way.

  16. Ergates_Antius says:


    Why is it that fewer women want to work in IT? Why does it make sense that jobs [that don’t involve hard physical labour] might appeal more to on gender than another?

    * Yes, I *know*

  17. Mokinokaro says:

    There is definitely still the idea of gender roles in our society to some degree, and it affects both sexes.

    When pursuing my computer science degree, the majority of my classmates were male. There were maybe 10-20 out of 80 students in the program that were female. Of those, most were older women in their 30s-40s pursuing a second career. By the time the 3rd year came around, we were down to around 30 students with, iirc, 4 women. I didn’t actually notice any of the sort of bullying that the #1reasonwhy folks have pointed out, but it wasn’t exactly a corporate culture either. The fact was, from the evidence I saw, not many women were interested in IT. Actually, I should clarify that, the hardware side of the Comp Sci department had a much larger proportion of women (close to 50-50) so it seems that less women are interested in the programming side. I’m told, however, that in the more advanced computer studies at the university there are more women than men.

    On the reverse though, one of my elective classes was mandatory for the nursing students. That class (around 50 students) only had 3 males. I heard stories of bullying from my fellow male students but didn’t experience any myself.

    Now I work in IT for a hospital and I’ve seen sexism firsthand. I’ve had to help investigate unwanted sexual advances (through email) and cyber-bullying on the corporate network. Now due to the nature of the healthcare industry, about 75% of the staff are women so most instances are women bullying women or women bullying men (not too many male nurses stay long due to treatment by the female dominant workplace,) but instances of men bullying women based on gender have come up as well. Sadly, usually by males in power towards females under their authority.

    That’s the big difference between how I’ve seen sexism work. The women tend to intimidate anyone they don’t like with gender not being a big part of it. They’re actually a bit more apt to attack other women.

    With the male workers it’s a bit different. They seem far less likely to bully other male coworkers than female ones. The fact they are the minority in most departments (except engineer and IT, though most of the IT supervisors are female) would make me think we’d have a lot more issues with them than we do.

    And yes, programs like this article are talking about are sexist. Just like affirmative action programs are discriminatory as well. There’s no such thing as “reverse sexism” or “reverse racism.” Unfortunately, due to our current society these forms of discrimination are sometimes necessary as (hopefully) temporary measures to give opportunities to deserving minorities who wouldn’t otherwise have them.

    • soldant says:

      As a male in the nursing sector, yeah, I’ve experienced this in general ward work (it didn’t happen in the specialist areas like emergency or cardiothoracics, except peri-operative of all places). I was denied learning opportunities as a student purely on the basis of gender (e.g. I wasn’t allowed to do a 12 lead ECG on a female patient, despite the patient giving her full consent for me to undertake the procedure, because a female nurse objected to it). I was also consistently assigned heavy patient loads and refused lift-assists or aids because all men are able to lift 20 times their body weight apparently. In paramedics though it’s a totally different story. I also had a lot of nurses blatantly tell me that men had no place in nursing, or that I had to be gay to get anywhere – masculine personality traits were outright hated in some areas.

      That said, in my experience it can work in reverse – you can be promoted quickly because you stick out, which breeds resentment. There seems to be no middle ground though, either way you’ve got a massive target on your back.

  18. stele says:

    Looks like I may have been censored earlier.

    I wrote “BACON!!!” (because that is what I saw when I read “BEACON” in the screenshot), followed by “oh…” as a disappointment that the screenshot didn’t really say “bacon”.

    Now the message is gone.

    Could it be that some censor-happy moderator thought I was making some kind of meat-based reference about women programmers? I don’t know – though full disclosure I am a male developer who has both worked with and hired female programmers.

    Maybe the moderators are militant vegetarians? Or perhaps, in this one particular case, due to the serious nature of the topic, all messages should be 100% on topic?

    The point is I got excited about bacon and wanted to tell the world, and now my message is gone, and I have no idea why.


  19. SillyWizard says:

    Clearly we wouldn’t have to waste our time with all this nonsense if we just went back to the way things used to be: no women in the workplace! Who’s with me?!


  20. Michael Fogg says:

    this is a great thing.

    Guy needs some coding skills.
    Goes to the workshop.
    Says he ‘identifies as a woman’.
    Free coding lessons!

  21. RProxyOnly says:

    Well, congratulations ‘Equality’… things are more fractured than ever.

  22. namad says:

    I’m not sure I entirely get this, in all the computer science courses I’ve taken, yes most of the students have been men…but…. there was almost never any student on student interaction during which any uncomfortable situations could arise. How can you be bullied in a room full of people who don’t talk to each other and just sit there listening to the lecture or checking their email?

    • Consumatopia says:

      Programmers and computer scientists have reputations for nerdiness, but they still communicate with each other outside of class like normal humans, you know?

  23. fish99 says:

    @ airmikee99

    So what are you saying, that sexism in the marking processes for computer science degrees has increased hugely over the last 20 years? Or is it the admissions process that’s sexist? What process are you claiming is at work here? If you want me to guess at the cause of those numbers, remember that when the polys became unis (which dropped degree entry requirements) and funding became universal, there was a huge increase in working class male students over that period (who lag behind female students at A-Level and would not have made it to uni in previous decades).

    The problem here is you’re ignoring gender differences. If you walk into any sociology lecture at any university you’ll see 90% female students. So does that mean there’s sexism against men stopping them get onto sociology degrees? By your logic it must do, but of course there isn’t. It’s just peer pressure, parental pressure, gender pressure, and just that men as a group tend to be less interested in sociology (and women tend to be less interested in computers).

    I’m not denying there’s huge sexism in the IT and video games industries, I’m saying it happens at the recruitment and promotion level, and not at the education level (and therefore a training initiative will make little difference). There is no training barrier, for anyone.

    • airmikee99 says:

      I’m glad you brought up the sociology subject because it shows a reversing trend. Women dominate the field now, but that hasn’t always been the case:

      link to

      Now if you can show me a chart that shows women dominating computer science, and then men taking it over, you’d have a point. Since that isn’t the case, you’re tilting at windmills.

      ” (and women tend to be less interested in computers).”

      Holy shit, could you be any more of a sexist dinosaur?

      • derbefrier says:

        its not sexist acknowledging that men and women have different interests and taste. Theres probably a lot of truth to that you know. Well, it probably depends on were your from really. I know were I live you’d be hard pressed to find a women who had any interest in video games and that’s the truth. Its so tiring seeing people being accused of being sexist just for making a simple observation. It may not be relative to the whole but as people we can only comment from our own life experiences and so in his life the women he knows have no interest in computers so he mistakenly applies that to every women. Thats not sexist, that just someone trying to make sense of a very complicated subject with their own limited knowledge. besides your little link there doesn’t really invalidate anything he said. The truth is no one really knows how much sexism and just plain lack of interest contributes to a lack of females in any specific field of work. These assumptions don’t really matter though. the point is to make women feel welcome in any field they choose to apply themselves to and if that takes a class for women only to drive up interest. I can only see that as a good thing.

      • fish99 says:

        @ airmikee99

        I guess what you’re trying to say is that the perception that the video game industry is sexist drives women away from the profession, which I’ll absolutely accept is true.

        I was talking about training though, and whether there was a barrier stopping a woman from picking up a programming book, and learning to code, or learning UDK, or Unity, and there isn’t, and you seemed to be implying that there was. As I said the barriers happen later when it comes to seeking employment using those skills, but the learning itself (including opting for a computer science degree) is open to anyone with the determination and ability.

      • thecommoncold says:

        For someone so, ahem, tolerant, there sure is a lot of hate in your posts.

      • fish99 says:

        And btw airmikee99 I think you need educating about what a term like sexist actually means. It is not discriminatory to point out a general trend across a group of people. We both know If you did a survey asking about interest levels in computers, video games and programming, across men and women, the proportion of men expressing interest would be higher. Why that’s the case is utterly irrelevant to whether my statement was sexist. It’s no more sexist to say that women as a group are less interested in computers than it is to say women as a group are more likely to wear skirts (or do you also deny that?), or that men are more likely as a group to be interested in football.

        Is IS discriminatory when you take that general trend and start making assumptions about an individual based on that trend rather than judging them on their own merits, like assuming a particular women won’t be interested in computers. You need to understand the difference before you throw such accusations around.

  24. Dave Tosser says:

    We really ought to disable the comments on pieces like this.

    That is unless they’re deliberately left in to cynically milk pageviews from the barrage of attention that comes with this topic, and the same one argument that gets dragged out to the creel every single time. You gain nothing by letting this mess spill out across the page.

    link to
    11 comments? That’s hardly ba-
    link to

    • RobF says:

      Nah, I know it seems mental and reading the same arguments ad infinitum from the same six or seven people is a tedious chore at the best of times but if they can’t comment here, they just end up shitting up RPS mailbox and all over the forum so at least this way, they’re contained in one place.

    • WrenBoy says:

      I think that is an cynical attitude to be honest. Personally I found many of the comments very interesting, consumatopia, geebs and fish99 are all making pretty well reasoned and informative points and that’s just picking out a few commenters and not even ones I necessarily completely agree with.

      These comments are certainly hidden in the noise to an extent but you are only adding to that noise with comments like that.

  25. JoshuaMadoc says:

    I just hope this doesn’t go out of control and corrupt itself into an institution where the one with the Wounded Gazelle Gambit wins every fight, regardless of casualties.

    And I see not even RPS is immune to idiots dismissing these kinds of ideas. Really fighting the good fight for the All-Male Alpha Male club, eh?