What women want

The University of Derby is having trouble recruiting women onto its new BSc Computer Games Programming degree course. Dave Wilson knows why.

Try to make a move just to stay in the game, I try to stay awake and remember my name – Keane.

My son loves computer games. Always has done. My daughter on the other hand has never seen the joy in holding a vibrating joystick for extended periods of time.

So I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to learn that, out of 106 applications from prospective students for a place on the new BSc Computer Games Programming degree course at the University of Derby, none were from women.

Research compiled by prominent female computer games pioneer and Government advisor Lizzie Haines, focusing on the UK games industry, shows that a measly 7% of females are employed by the industry. And just a mere 2% of those hold technical and software development positions.

To redress the issue, Derby University plans to hold a series of initiatives, such as taster days and a summer camp for females, enabling them to learn more about the subject area and attract applications for the coming year.

Nice try. But will it work? I don’t think so.

The simple fact of the matter is that because women don’t see the appeal in roaming around in dungeons in scantily clad outfits carrying light sabres, they see no reason to spend their lives developing games that might allow other people to do so.

Obviously then, it would help if the games companies made more games that females wanted to play.

But ‘to do that,’ Haines said, ‘they need to know what makes the female half of the world tick.’

If the games industry ever finds out, then I would appreciate an email from them. Because it’s not something that I’ve ever had any luck with.

For more details on a career in the games business, visit www.derby.ac.uk/games, or email games@derby.ac.uk