100 Most Influential Women: A Numerical Breakdown

by Darius Kazemi on September 13, 2006

in industry

So Jason and Kim have both responded to the Next-Gen.Biz list of the Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women. Several commenters, myself included, have questioned the content of the list. Particularly, it seems like there’s way, way more executive business types on the list than creative types.

Well, I decided to count. For methodology, I went through and for the most part tried to lump people’s job titles into categories without sacrificing the meaning of their job. For example, if someone is listed as Chief Executive, I lump them in with CEOs. But if there’s a Game Director and a Studio Director, keep them separate, because Game Directors tend to be more involved in the games than a Studio Director, who is more involved in high-level running of the studio.

That said, here’s the data. Remember, there are 100 women on the list.

CEO: 13
VP: 30 (of these VPs, 13 of them are VPs of Marketing)
President: 3
Director: 12 (of these, 7 can be classified as “creative” directors, the rest are general management)
Journalist: 9 (I lumped in editors and authors here)
Designer: 7
Producer: 7
Academic: 4
Tech Lead: 1
Art Lead: 1
Clan Leader: 2
Other: 11

All in all, 22 of the women listed were involved directly in the creation of games. In this number, I have included designers, producers, creative directors, game directors, art leads, and tech leads. I am not including executive producers.

The tech lead is the only programmer on the list.

I’m a developer. When I think “influential,” I am really thinking “influential to me.” And I’m influenced by developers. So of course my natural inclincation is to be offended by the list.

But I’m not going to bash Next-Gen.Biz. As their name implies, they are a business-focused website, and an excellent one at that. So naturally, when they ask who is influential, they will be more focused on who runs companies and departments, rather than who is actually making games.

On the other hand, by including women who are designers and authors and professors, they erode that focus, and in fact end up listing apples and oranges together in the same list.


Patrick September 14, 2006 at 1:23 am

I had the same impression. To me, the only women in games that are significant in a sense of being progressive to the medium are woman who are even more deeply involved in game design, not merely production. We need female auteurs! Hell, we need auteurs period, but I don’t see why a portion of them can’t be female.

On a side note, while soliciting artists recently I’ve noticed quite a few are women. It may be that, statistically speaking, women are more right brained and thus more likely to be artists than programmers. I’d like to get a near even ratio of men and women working at TV.

Guilded Lily September 18, 2006 at 1:30 pm

It’s interesting to see your break down of the list – and I too would like to see more about the women creating the content as well as the business end of things.

One thought about the predominance of management positions on the list – it’s easy to imagine those women entering the game industry from other industries in a lateral move, rather than seeing them as working their way up the ladder. The ladder-climbing path to top positions is likely more the case for men in the industry because of all the social and cultural qualities around gaming in general. I generalize, but to make a point. From what I understand, the path to getting into the “creative type” of jobs involves some need for starting out at entry level work and working up to level designer, art director, etc. The larger cultural issues that have kept more women from entering technology based careers come into play – especially since these career paths require industry specific skills. Management skills translate more easily across different industries, so women have likely progressed their careers in industries that are more women-friendly and then moved into the game related careers from there.

It’s great to see this list regardless of what these women are doing for work, and I think it helps to promote the game industry as a place for more women to work. A similar list of “creative types” of women in the industry would also help to get more young women entering college to consider that line of work as a career path.

fiona c September 21, 2006 at 4:59 am

Darius, I greatly appreciate your blog discussion on the numerical breakdown of the 100 Influential Women in Games. I did a similar analysis early in the process of reviewing our possible subjects, and quickly realized that these ratios reliably represent the composition of women in the game industry. Ideally, the Next Gen News article will open eyes and minds of business leaders to be more aggressive about hiring and recruiting women into key design and product development roles.

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