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Essay
23 March 2006Printer-friendly versionEmail a friend

Why don't women play computer games?
The fact that these are boys' toys has been theorised as evidence for the 'politics of difference'.

by James Woudhuysen

On the Brighton to London train, women commuters in one carriage are busy. They are playing BrickBreaker, a spatially orientated dynamic puzzle, on their Blackberry personal digital assistants. Blackberries come equipped with BrickBreaker. It is now possible for women - and men - to play the game while they are going through railway tunnels, and at the same time take a phone call there. A German mobile communications operator, T-Mobile, has put WiFi in the train carriage, and has provided a whole lot of other connections besides.

With new handheld devices come new games which women play. It is true that most games have, since the mid-1990s, been about shooting or sport - pastimes that, on balance, appeal to men more than women. But as the psychologist Aleks Krotoski has ably pointed out, there is now 'a loud but proud subculture of women who beat the boys at their own games'. And there are other developments in videogame content that confirm how computer games are not simply a male pursuit:

  • Climax's Shining in the Darkness has offered women the chance to save a princess since 1991;

  • Creatures, launched in 1996, and The Sims, launched in 1999, have added nurturing to the computer games genre;

  • Women now lead men in the playing of mobile games (1).

Yet despite the euphoria that often surrounds the simple fact that women do play computer games, people feel uncomfortable about the issue.

First, it is argued that there are not enough women working in certain roles in the videogame industry: that occupational segregation, or a gender gap, exists in the process of making games. The BBC laments how the University of Derby's new degree in games programming has failed to attract a single woman among 106 applicants (2). Moreover, women make up only 16-17 per cent of the UK games sector's 8000-strong workforce, and only two, three, five, eight and nine per cent, respectively, of its programming posts in audio, design, production and art (3).

Second, it is alleged that, in use, today's games products lack appeal to female gamers. As Doug Lowenstein, president of the US Entertainment Software Association (ESA), said in May 2005, at the start of the world's largest video games show, the E3 expo in Los Angeles:

'We need a cultural shift so that young girls and women feel that playing games is not a testosterone monopolised [sic] hobby reserved for their boyfriends and husbands' (4).

These two worries play on each other. Games products, indicted as broadly 'boys' toys', are held to reinforce games industry processes that are skewed toward male, rather than female jobs. There appears to be a chicken and egg problem: men write games that men like playing - games with an emphasis on guns and cars. In turn, such products seem to attract men to the industry and its processes more than women. Where women work in UK games, they tend to be in administration, marketing, story development, production, and in the conceptualising or animating of models through artwork (5). They are not in programming.

The suspicion exists that there are not enough computer games being programmed by women for women. Yet women do play computer games. In America, for example, teenage girls play with them for about five hours a week, even if, with teenage boys, the figure is more like 13 hours (6).

These facts already expose as crude the idea that, somehow, boys simply design games that generate jobs only for boys. Nevertheless, the issue of sexism in the making and use of computer games will not go away.

Staying under the spotlight

Since the massacre of children at Columbine High School, near Denver, on 20 April 1999, computer games such as Doom have come to be seen as disposing teenage males to violence, the most extreme form of aggression (7). Today's discourse about women and games, then, needs to be seen against a background of a wider culture war against what are seen to be male values. While mobile phones are widely indicted for inspiring adult infidelity, teenage illiteracy, street theft and much else besides, computer games tend to prompt fear about the irredeemably sexist nature of society. Cars still suffer from the stigma of a strong association with men, speed, ego and all that. Feminists have also continued to attack pornography as both a symptom and a cause of women's subordination to men. Nevertheless, the love young boys have for computer games underlines the special role that games are now felt to play in helping to sex society.

Right now, a number of attempts are being made, in both Britain and America, to integrate computer games into the fabric of secondary education. In the USA, where such efforts are particularly advanced, there are fears that the size of Lara Croft's breasts will not just put girls off computer games, but off IT as a discipline. Henry Jenkins, director of comparative media studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that, being the first introduction girls have to computers, sexist computer games are partially responsible for the gender gap in the whole of US computer science (8).

In the UK under New Labour, cultural industries such as computer games software have gained in prominence. At the same time, Conservative leader David Cameron has joined the Equal Opportunities Commission in highlighting the lack of progress Britain has made in properly rewarding women at work (9). Put these two developments together, and the male/female dimensions of computer games industry processes and of computer game products look likely to remain under the spotlight. The government already blames games for encouraging obesity (10). On top of this, then, games will continue to inspire unusual passions as a potent symbol of, and force for, differences between the sexes - or what some experts term 'sex difference'.

We live in a misanthropic culture (11). Thus games processes and products appear not just as very deeply sexed, but also as a striking, mass-market monument to the unchangeable character of sex difference, and in particular the unchangeable defects of men. To many, games embody much that is shameful about society. Lara Croft, Germaine Greer has said,

'is a sergeant-major with balloons stuffed up his shirt… a distorted, sexually ambiguous, male fantasy. Whatever these characters are, they're not real women.' (12)

It is good to learn that Lara Croft is not a real person. But so long as critiques of computer games remain at such a banal level, women will make no progress. In addressing this issue, it is worth asking four questions:

1) Are the differences between men and women around the making and use of computer games to do with culture, or - as Doug Lowenstein's reference to testosterone suggests - to do with biology?

2) Are occupational segregation and the paucity of female games programming jobs part of a wider problem of discrimination in engineering, computer science and the IT industry?

3) Will games only fully appeal to women if women programme them?

4) Is the playing of game products by women unequivocally a Good Thing?

Neither culture nor biology

In the toy industry, manufacturers maintain that, once sexual difference kicks in after three years old, they are only responding to what the child market wants - they are not creating a gendered demand, it is simply out there. All the many efforts that the toy industry has made to sell cross-gender toys and so find new markets have failed. Most do not even get to market. Cars as people who speak have held no appeal to girls, even if dolls - in the sense of action figures - have always appealed to boys. Electronic toys have little appeal to girls. Girls prefer pink and purple, boys prefer black, orange, red and silver.

We might wish otherwise, but these are the facts. Yet in recent years, the rise of 'feminine values' has, still more than the rise in female employment, brought about a modest convergence between male and female roles in UK society. Aleks Krotoski is not alone in recognising that the same computer games can and do appeal to both sexes - even if Sheri Rainer Grey's capture of the term 'gender inclusive' for the computer games industry leaves a little to be desired (if gender inclusive, then why not our old friend, Unisex?) (13).

Nevertheless, the differences between games for women and games for men appear enduring ones.

Computer games figure hardly, if at all, in the work of prominent feminists such as the late Andrea Dworkin, or Catherine MacKinnon. Yet in putting forward the view that pornography is the same thing as male violence, these authors have probably had a subtle influence on feminist thinking about computer games. No matter how great the take-up of games among girls and women, the continuing tastelessness of many 'masculine' games is seen as an enduring sign that men's horrid, aggressive lust for power, and indeed men's lust, will always be with us.

People see human nature as the one exception to today's endlessly alleged world of accelerating change. They often miss how, today, human nature is more protean than it ever has been. Some sex differences will always endure, being biologically founded; but many will not, having social roots. Much that might endure turns out not to.

Computer games don't transform teenagers into monsters. Yet they do involve, and will involve, a modest augmentation of our faculties. With his usual hyperbole, Sunday Times philosopher Brian Appleyard says that games 'are ontological prosthetics, artificial extensions into alternate conditions of being, independent of our rotting carcasses' (14). Still, games are a small part of the extended human mind today. They do contribute to transformations in what it means to be human.

Neither nurture in the sense of the parenting and schooling of children, nor nature as explained by the new disciplines of neurology and evolutionary psychology, can fully account for those transformations. In this sense, the answer to the question of whether the differences between men and women around the making and use of computer games are to do with culture or biology is simple enough. The differences that exist are not set in stone. References to culture and biology as direct and proximate causes of these differences fail to grasp this. They have more in common with description than explanation.

The consumerist, constructionist, psychological and feminist approaches to women fail to convince. Computer games are no more the site of masculine power than are sexist toys. Lara Croft may be more of a cyber-bimbo than a feminist icon, to adopt the terms of Helen Kennedy, a University of the West of England specialist in play (15). The baddies Lara fights are certainly mostly men. But to hold figures like her as responsible for the paucity of women in UK games programming, or US computer science generally, amounts to an unlikely stretch.

Naturalist accounts are as one-sided as cultural determinist ones. In May 2005, Harvard psychology professor Stephen Pinker, an expert in language acquisition in children, mental representation and computational theory, insisted on an evolutionary answer to the question raised by Larry Summers, then president of Harvard: whether there are 'issues of intrinsic aptitude' that explain the preponderance of men rather than women in the mathematical sciences. But Pinker's Harvard psychology colleague Elizabeth Spelke marshalled some convincing evidence to show that boys and girls do not differ in orientation to objects, spatial and numerical abilities, or variability in cognitive abilities leading to male predomination at the upper reaches of mathematical talent. Spelke notes, too, that 57 per cent of US current accountants are women. These are things that the naturalist account is hard put to explain (16).

The relevance of paid and unpaid work

Consumer culture and biological make-up are important to women and computer games, but the realities of work are probably more important. Summers had every right to ask why women are under-represented in such a key area as the mathematical sciences, and every right, too, to put forward a biological explanation. Why? Because in questions of sex difference, all factors need careful consideration from a rounded point of view.

We need open debate on the reasons for the different approaches men and women have to computer games. In that case, however, not just sociology or biology, but also politics, economics and technology need to be taken into account. And within this broader context, work stands out, paradoxically, as the key impetus to computerised play.

Formally, of course, play is the antithesis of work. But in the world of paid work, playful activities are growing - something that is entirely new in the history of capitalism (17). Indeed role-play and competitive games are so much part of work today that the television series The Office has made them the object of popular satire. Despite that satire, however:

  • At the Woodlands Resort, Houston, visiting executives go team-building on The Challenge Course, in which teams compete in the use of balloons and tape to build the most creative and tallest free-standing structure that best represents their company's values (18);

  • At Bank of America, practice at the theme parks of the Walt Disney Company has inspired how the bank's staff interact with customers, while Starbucks is licensed to run shop-in-shop branches. At Washington Mutual, at least one retail branch has a play area for children, complete with Nintendo and PlayStation games (19);

  • In the human resources parts of corporate websites, the concept of 'recruitainment' is growing: in 2005, for example, 176 teams of undergraduates and MBAs from 31 countries competed in the thirteenth year of L'Oréal's Brandstorm, 'a game which touches upon the core of marketing', in which contestants simulate developing new product lines for existing company brands (20);

  • There are now more than 20,000 professional life, management and personal 'coaches' in the US and more than 4000 in the UK (21);

  • At the airport bookstall, one can buy books with titles such as Joy at work: a CEO's revolutionary approach to fun on the job (22);

  • The Sunday Times continually publishes articles dedicated to the idea that techniques from rugby, cricket, swimming, rowing and football are relevant to mainstream business (23).



Today, therefore, adult women enter a world of work in which play has official support. Indeed innovation in the workplace is often taken to mean creativity, which in turn is taken to mean play. The atmosphere surrounding play is positive and sociable in many workplaces. On top of that, the use of computers and mobile phones in work settings to conduct personal administration and communications is often accompanied by the use of IT to play computer games. It is probable that adult women gain much of their contemporary exposure to computer games at work.

The ascendancy of play within the world of paid work confirms that work is fundamentally not what it used to be. As Jennie Bristow has pointed out on spiked, work once represented a genuine opportunity for women to perform an independent, public role in society. Now, however, work is popularly viewed as that bit less exciting - while social solidarities at work, from trade unions to informal bonds between long-term colleagues, have become 'transformed into tenuous, temporary relationships between disparate individuals, mediated through the boss or a workplace counsellor'. In today's context of vacuity at work, Bristow suggests, women need to recall that 'the promise of women's equality was never reducible to an equal participation in a mundane world' (24).

At the same time as paid work is being dumbed down, partly through play, women still do most of society's unpaid housework, and especially childcare. As a result, we might expect that adult women also gain much of their acquaintance with computer games through exposure to their children's games at home. At the same time, many mothers will not have the time to engage in or pay for computer games at all. Of course, the middle-class mother in Britain may be able to afford private childcare. But that situation will probably be paid for through longer hours at work, and not characterised by increased playing of computer games.

Women's preferences in computer games, therefore, may be distinguished from men's by childhood experiences, or by different brains. But it is the differential adult use of time between women and men that probably most shapes these preferences. At present, many women don't have the time men do for games - even if that is gradually changing. Moreover, the roles played by women in paid work are also changing, and, with that, the feminine sensibility, choice of heroines, and so on. Women's alleged lack of competitiveness has been qualified by the past 20 years of expansion of posts for women, even if most of that expansion has related to part-time work. These facts, more than any others, profoundly affect the relationship between women and computer games.

Little discrimination, not a whole lot of choice

Are occupational segregation and the paucity of female games programming jobs part of a wider problem of discrimination in the IT industry?

In an interesting attack on what they call biological determinism and social determinism, Tracy Hammond, of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Jan Hammond of the Department of Educational Administration, State University of New York, argue that what really affects female entry into US computer science and related careers is simply the ability to exercise choice in the matter. They overestimate how much women encounter what they call a 'high choice situation', in which 'the choice maker perceives total autonomy and has further exercised this autonomy by selecting a course or career according to her innate preferences'.

From Wayne State University, Detroit, law professor Kingsley Browne, an enthusiastic supporter of evolutionary biology, likewise overestimates the amount of autonomy women have:

'Are women, like men, active agents in their own lives, making rational decisions based upon their own preferences? Or are they pawns of both men and society - making suboptimal "choices" that are forced on them by others? All indications are that the former is closer to the mark. Women, though somewhat constrained by life circumstances, as are men, make rational and responsible choices that more compatible with their temperaments, abilities and desires.' (26)

Now women are active agents more than pawns. Yet while they make choices, they are also more than 'somewhat constrained' by circumstances. The circumstances are not of their own choosing. This is a fact that is also overlooked in the preference theory laid out by the distinguished labour market sociologist Catherine Hakim.

In 2004, Hakim, a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, published a fascinating second edition of her 1996 classic Key issues in women's work (27). On the one hand, and to her credit, Hakim goes some way toward rejecting the socialist feminist dogmas of the past. For her, feminists were, apparently, 'right to see male-dominated trade unions as the clearest illustration of patriarchy in the labour market', but were here more accurate about the nineteenth than the twentieth century, and not at all relevant to the twenty-first. 'By the 1990s', Hakim more persuasively argues, 'the British system of industrial relations itself was in decline' (28).

On the other hand, and again to her credit, Hakim also rejects evolutionary theory as a guide to occupational segregation. She dismisses that naturalistic gambit rather effectively with the remark that the new pattern of about 20 per cent of women remaining voluntarily childless disproves the notion of there being a biological imperative for women to have children and raise them (29). Instead of the old feminism of the 1960s-1980s and the newer naturalism since, Hakim contends that women take the jobs they do as a matter of preference, to do with their values and lifestyles. In other words, she shares with the Hammonds and Browne a rather too breezy estimate of the choices in front of women.

For Hakim, we have a historically new scenario, in which women 'have genuine choices and female heterogeneity is revealed to its full extent'. Up to two-thirds of women will be adaptive - will prefer to combine job and family without giving a fixed priority to either, and will want to enjoy the best of both worlds. Only two 20 per cent minorities of work- and home-centred women will focus on one or the other. A new zone of choice has been opened up, Hakim believes, by:

  1. contraceptives

  2. the equal opportunities revolution

  3. the growth of white-collar jobs, the creation of jobs for secondary earners ('people who do not want to give priority to paid work at the expense of other life interests')

  4. 'the increasing importance of attitudes, values and personal preferences in the lifestyle choices of prosperous, liberal modern societies' (30).


Hakim captures some important changes, but downplays the constraints on choice. Like Browne, she adopts an insouciant attitude to the exigencies of childcare, on the grounds that it occupies a small proportion of the woman's life cycle, even if it is 'overwhelmingly full-time' for 'a few years'. She makes a better point in noting that care for the elderly in the home has replaced some of the decline in childcare work, and that this looking after older people is a unisex affair that can be tougher and less rewarding than looking after kids (31).

In fact, Hakim elsewhere gives striking evidence of the limits to choice. Not just in Britain but also in most European countries, she notes, the alleged 'feminisation' of the workforce mostly consists of growth in rather poor half-time or marginal jobs (32).

Far from being a free and easy wielding of choice, the unwillingness of females to enter games programming is probably just that: unwillingness. It is not that women are frozen out of games development, but that they don't appear to want to get into it very much. They often prefer, and in modern Britain can admittedly often get, more general jobs in human resources or public relations. In games, they most often take managerial or marketing roles (33). Lizzie Haines' research with 20 UK computer games firms found that, in 2004, no fewer than 23 per cent of all those in senior positions were women (34).

In games as elsewhere in IT, marketing people rather than development people frequently have the upper hand in dictating the design of the final product put on sale. Thankfully, then, the sense that games will only fully appeal to women if women program them remains only subterranean at present. Nevertheless, such a logic fully brings out the absurd implications of the feminist and naturalist accounts. In the real world, men will continue to program most of the games that mostly women play. Meanwhile, more and more women will find themselves programming games for both sexes.

Hand-wringing about the absence of women games programmers, then, is an impatient indulgence, not a blow for the liberation of women. Games programming jobs, after all, can be boring. For that reason alone, discrimination against aspirant women programmers is likely to be limited. Browne is right not to believe that women never face discrimination at work; but he is also right to remark that discrimination cannot be simply assumed from disparities in labour market representation. As he observes,

'Existing patterns do not necessarily suggest that the work men tend disproportionately to do will continue to be done by men in the same proportions. Even if women's job preferences were not to change, jobs do….Does the fact that males and females differ, on average, in occupational interests and abilities mean that vocational counsellors should use this information to steer females into certain occupations and males into others? Should employers routinely assume that all male and female applicants share the average characteristics of their sex? Certainly not in either case.' (35)

It is likely that both female programmers and female-orientated programs will arrive after an interval. Computer games and computer arts courses are, after all, in their first generation. Likewise, career opportunities in these areas are also relatively new. As gaming becomes part of family entertainment alongside viewing TV, movies and mobile phones, so girls', parents' and teachers' awareness of the range of career prospects in games will grow.

Games programmed by women: not quite a Good Thing

In 2002-3, the leading UK games recruitment agency Aardvark Swift found that it placed a total of 105 people in games programming jobs (36). So in the UK, at least, there can only be perhaps 500 games programming jobs up for grabs - by women and men - in the first place. This tells us something. The growing worry about occupational segregation in what is always likely to be a very limited number of games industry posts revolves more around state social engineering than practical software engineering.

Of course, there is a big market opening up for games that appeal strongly to women. The fondness women have for mobile phones, together with the spread of games to mobile platforms, also promises more female-orientated 'product'; and already Indian games software houses, complete with at least some women in programming rather than roles in administration or art direction, are very active in the mobile domain (37). But it is of greater interest whether Indian women, who really are oppressed, get millions of jobs in IT over the next few years, than whether 1000 British women, over the same period, get to design animations that are testosterone-free. To highlight computer games programming as a major problem for women in Britain represents an indulgence.

Must girls be given special training courses in games software, in the implicit hope that they should, sooner or later, make up half the workforce in UK computer games production? Perhaps. Yet nobody runs a campaign to ensure that men gain equal representation to women in a field such as nursing. All in all, girls would only deserve special training in games programming if we were to share New Labour's unannounced dream of making one in every two British plumbers a woman.

Browne is right to ridicule both the measures that stem from this kind of approach, and the thinking behind it. In America, he points out,

'Many of the suggestions to increase female interest in the sciences are quite patronizing to women, Some believe that such things as providing pizza parties for physics students, creating public service announcements "that use the words 'engineering' and 'fun' in the same sentence", or naming the engineering school after a woman, as the Rochester Institute of Technology has done, are at least part of the answer. The idea that women are going to make fundamental life decisions on the basis of such trivialities does not say much about their advocates' respect for women's autonomy or judgment, and it is unlikely that such initiatives will have a long-term impact on the number of women in science' (38)

As with US science, so with computer games in the UK.

Will games only fully appeal to women if women programme them? Even the naturalistic Browne has doubts that, in science, a 'woman's way of knowing' will yield a safer bridge or a new fundamental particle (39). But Browne also nicely brings out the conservative implications, for women on the labour market, of the 'women should design games for women' hypothesis:

'An inherent self-contradiction in the argument for "diversity" is often overlooked. Many take the disparities in representation of men and women as proof that the deck is stacked against women, on the rationale that we should expect women to sort themselves into jobs in the same proportion as men. Yet, we are simultaneously told that women bring a different perspective and different values to the workplace. If men and women truly do have different perspectives and values however, then why on earth would one expect them to have the same occupational preferences?' (40)

Once you uphold the politics of difference, you are in no position to argue that occupational segregation is a problem.

The search for games that appeal to women because women programme them is an attempt to meet two goals. A business goal - expanding the appeal of computer games to women - is presented as one quite congruent with a moral one. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in computer games, it appears, means feminising them… with extra profits in mind. This convergence between CSR and the demands of the market is something that typifies environmentalist thinking today (41). It is also a convergence that characterises thought and action about computer games and women.

Now, games will play a vital part in tomorrow's socialisation, communication and personal identity - for women as for men. Games based on mobile phones, or played at WiFi hotspots, will confirm this. So too will massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) (42). These trends need not disturb. What should be treated as disturbing, though, is the willingness of Britain's political elite to reinforce youth in the opinion that, in games as elsewhere, masculine values are all bad news, but the market can be relied upon - with a bit of help from enlightened government - to put things right, in a way that reflects everyone's interests.

In fact, so long as what women want of computer games is held to be worthier than what men want, that will demean both women and men. So long as business is held to have a commercial interest in behaving morally and responsibly by putting more 'feminine' titles on sale, the market will continue to be the subject of idolatrous worship. And so long as liberals urge government to compensate for market failure by promoting positive discrimination in favour of women games programmers, the more they will buttress the power of the state.

At their height, opponents of capitalism condemned the way in which it acted against women in paid and unpaid work. Today's treatments of women and computer games, by contrast, tend uncritically to applaud women's growing interest in play. That is why it is worth asking: is the playing of games by women unequivocally a Good Thing?

Our answer is - no, not quite. For both women and men in the West, games and play are becoming more of a way of life, at just the moment that normal life seems more bereft of meaning than ever before. The rise of essentially trivial pastimes should not call forth a moral panic. But the hipper-than-thou attitudes espoused by many in the games milieu are self-conscious, and not politically conscious. Games may serve as a badge of identity, of course; but identity politics will never change the world enough to allow a true flowering of creativity in computer games.

What gamers need, and what everyone else needs, is an adult politics of autonomy that rejects the special pleadings of feminist and naturalist interpretations of the world. Women gamers and women games programmers are neither oppressed, nor freaks of nature. Nor, in future, will their strength of character be derived simply from the realm of play.

Women are different from men, but it is time to say farewell to the politics of difference.

James Woudhuysen is professor of forecasting and innovation at De Montfort University, Leicester. This is an edited version of his paper 'Computer games and sex difference', available on his website at www.woudhuysen.com.

Acknowledgements: James Woudhuysen would like to thank Jennie Bristow, Wendy Earle, Helene Guldberg, James Heartfield, Aleks Krotoski, Ellie Lee, Moira Murray, Sheila Murray and Inga Paterson. Special thanks are due to Kenan Malik.

(1) Krotoski, A. September 2004, pp.6,7. Chicks and joysticks: an exploration of women and gaming. London: Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association

(2) Women wanted as games programmers, BBC News

(3) Haines, L. September 2004. pp5, 6. Why are there so few women in games?, Media Training North West

(4) Quoted in Hermida, A. 19 May 2005. Call for radical rethink of games, BBC News

(5) John Sear, acting programme leader, University of Derby computer games course. 9 May 2005. Quoted in Women wanted as games programmers, BBC News

(6) 'Breeding evil', Economist, 6 August 2005, p9

(7) One of the two Columbine murderers, Eric Harris, often created levels for Doom; these were widely distributed, and can still occasionally be found on the Internet as the Harris levels. See Columbine High School massacre, Wikipedia. For a counter-cultural but relatively rare defence of computer games against the charge of inciting male aggression, see 'Breeding evil', Economist, 6 August 2005, p9

(8) Quoted in Pickoff-White, L. 15 February 2005. Video games: sexist tendencies, United Press International

(9) Calls for new sex equality laws, BBC News, 29 December 2005

(10) Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has listed computer games as one of the factors behind obesity in Britain. Speech by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport to the Tackling Obesity In Young People conference, 25 February 2004

(11) Furedi, F. 2005. Politics of fear: beyond left and right. London: Continuum.

(12) Quoted in Lara Croft: fantasy games mistress, BBC News, 6 July 2001

(13) Graner Ray, S. 2003. Gender inclusive game design: expanding the market. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media

(14) Appleyard, B. 17 October 2005. pp.6-7. 'Gangsters, guns, girls - computer games are just as popular as Hollywood blockbusters', The Sunday Times

(15) Kennedy, H. December 2002. Lara Croft: feminist icon or cyberbimbo? On the limits of textual analysis, Game Studies, 2:2

(16) Pinker, S. and Spelke, 16 May 2005. The science of gender and science, Edge; Spelke, E.S. December 2005. 'Sex differences in intrinsic aptitude for mathematics and science? A critical review', American Psychologist 60: pp950-958

(17) See Woudhuysen, J. 2003. Play as the Main Event in International and UK Culture, Cultural Trends. 43 & 44: pp.95-145. London: Policy Studies Institute

(18) McNulty, S. 15/16 May 2005. p.5. 'Reserving a seat at Woodlands Resort conference circus', Financial Times Money and Business

(19) Croft, J. 5 April 2005. p.23. 'Time to wake up and smell the coffee', Financial Times

(20) L'Oréal, 21 June 2005. L'Oréal rewards marketing minds of the world

(21) Sanghera, S. 5 July 2005. p.8. 'I went in for coaching, but couldn't stay the course', Financial Times

(22) Bakke, D. 2005. Joy at work: a CEO's revolutionary approach to fun on the job. Seattle: PVG

(23) Bolchover, D. 19 June 2005. pp.1, 8. 'Sport shows business how to win'. Sunday Times Business News; Bolchover, D. 26 June 2005, 'Cricket lessons for big business'. Sunday Times Business News; Bolchover, D. 3 July 2005. '"Chocolate cake" management guide'. Sunday Times Business News; Bolchover, D. 10 July 2005. 'Rowing coach shows how to pull together'. Sunday Times Business News; Bolchover, D. 17 July 2005. 'Turn your teams into champions'. Sunday Times Business News

(24) Women: are we equal now?, by Jennie Bristow

(25) Hammond, T. and Hammond, J. 6-9 November 2002. Gender-based under-representation in computer science and related disciplines, American Society for Engineering Education/Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Frontiers in Education Conference Session F3C F3C-5 Boston, MA

(26) Browne, K.R. 2002. p217. Biology at work: rethinking sexual equality. London: Rutgers University Press

(27) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(28) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. P81. Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(29) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. P51. Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(30) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. pp14, 15 Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(31) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. pp51, 52.. Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(32) Hakim, C. 2004. Second edition. p79. Key issues in women's work: female diversity and the polarisation of women's employment. London: Glasshouse Press

(33) Haines, L. September 2004. pp5, 6. Why are there so few women in games?, Media Training North West

(34) Haines, L. September 2004. pp5, 6. Why are there so few women in games?, Media Training North West

(35) Browne, K.R. 2002. pp44, 50, 66, 67. Biology at work: rethinking sexual equality. London: Rutgers University Press

(36) Krotoski, A. September 2004, pp.6,7. Chicks and joysticks: an exploration of women and gaming. London: Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association

(37) Puliyenthuruthel, J. 6 June 2005. p.26. 'Biff! Zap! Game coding comes to India'. Business Week.

(38) Browne, K.R. 2002. p149. Biology at work: rethinking sexual equality. London: Rutgers University Press.

(39) Browne, K.R. 2002. p150. Biology at work: rethinking sexual equality. London: Rutgers University Press.

(40) Browne, K.R. 2002. p151. Biology at work: rethinking sexual equality. London: Rutgers University Press.

(41) See for example Porritt, J. 2005. Capitalism: as if the world matters. London: Earthscan Publications.

(42) On MMOG, see GameSpy staff. 14 November 2003. Massively multiplayer online games: the past, the present, and the future. GameSpy


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