We all know that video games agencies provide labels indicating the level of violence, adult language and sexually explicit content. But what about gender equality? Currently, Sweden is considering creating special labels for video games based on whether or not the games’ portrayal of women is sexist or not.
According to Time magazine, the Swedish agency Vinnova is paying Dataspelsbanchen, the Swedish video game trade organization, about $36,672 to study the female characters in the industry.
In all honesty, I am curious what the spectrum of the labels will consist of. There is no way to make a black-and-white label system of “this is sexist” or “that is not”. And with the dawn of #Gamergate, there is surely a desire for equality and fair treatment in the gaming industry. The company has not specifically determined whether the labeling will be based off the treatment of women or whether there are positive representations of women or negative.
Project manager Anton Albiin states that he wants Sweden to be a “beacon in this area” since no other project in the video game world currently is doing the same. Albiin believes that the gaming work can be a form of cultural expressions and “games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about thing.”
Interestingly enough only 16% of workers Sweden’s gaming industry are women… and in the U.S. only 3% of video game programmers are woman and only 11% are designers (according to The Boston Globe). Hopefully the future will bring a wider representation of women in both video games and in the industry.