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Made in gb
Dakka Veteran



London

Why Are There So Few Women in Wargaming?

https://www.wired.com/story/women-wargaming-sexism-harassment/

"A combination of a high barrier to entry and outdated, misogynistic attitudes keep women out of a hobby where they could thrive."

Do you think this article aims at 'traditional' wargamers in terms of the discussed demographic (it is also the one that gets professional interest as they use that group to recruit to professional wargaming roles)? Though the barrier to entry is presumably the same for both men and women, unless women in the west have lower disposable incomes at the 'GW recruitment' age?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 11:01:37


 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

I don't deny that there are internal factors to the hobby and the industry at work in ostracizing women, but I think most women are kept out by external factors like gender norms and expectations well before they ever encounter misogyny within the community itself.

Young boys are bombarded from a young age with marketing designed to draw them into playing with GI Joe action figures or video games that simulate war. Young girls on the other hand are conditioned by marketing to play house and buy things colored pink, with easy bake ovens, dolls that they must care for like babies, etc. These expectations and marketing angles are reinforced as they age - war films and video games are marketed towards men, romcoms and dramas towards women. This is further reinforced by well entrenched societal gender norms - there are expectations for men to serve in the military, whereas there is not for women, who are a minority in military service (and when they do more often than not they go into support services like nursing - moreso because they have been historically excluded from serving in combat than because of any inherent predilection to avoid it) and far more likely to seek a professional career in other fields or become homemakers, etc.

Long story short, women don't generally take interest in the hobby because lifelong marketing and conditioning steers them away from it while steering men towards it. I assume this is reinforced by peer pressure, as any young lady that does take interest in the hobby will likely be discouraged by their more-conditioned female friends from continuing to do so, while being ostracized by young men in the same manner. "Boys only, no girls allowed", "eww those toys are for boys, why don't you play with these nice pink dollies instead", and all that jazz.

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Made in de
Dakka Veteran





A combination of natural proclivity and outside factors, which does include cultural conditioning, sexism and gatekeeping to varying degrees.

This has been discussed and researched thousands of times and the underlying data hasn't changed.
   
Made in gb
Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

I don't think it's exclusively conditioning, at all. When you give toys to monkeys girls, tend to take the soft toys and boys take the trucks, spin the wheels, and bash things.
How much the venn diagram of male and female likes/dislikes overlaps is debatable but it's definitely not a circle.

Regardless of what causes it, I think that's probably the main big reason there aren't many women in wargaming.

I've encountered maybe a dozen women at most in wargaming, all but one was the partner of one of the guys (and I'm not sure about that one).
This perhaps relates to how people normally get into wargames - through friends. Aged 10-12 friends are normally the same gender, even as people get older friend circles tend to be more mono-gender, particularly among us nerds who tend to less sociable.
So another reason I think there are fewer women in wargaming is that, they're less likely to be introduced to it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 12:09:57


 
   
Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Scanned the article as my lunch break is almost over. Apologies if I’ve missed something as a result.

But it seems to be focussed more on the gaming side of things, rather than the hobby as a whole.

The source for the 1-2% statistic is a magazine, seemingly historical oriented. To understand that result and draw any solid conclusion, we’d need to know their basic reader base, and their reach as a publication. It’s not a name immediately familiar to me. Whilst I don’t claim to be any kind of authority, that is suggestive of perhaps a niche reach within the wider war gaming hobby.

As for game night observations? I don’t game in my local GW, because I don’t much fancy being in an enclosed space with whiffy teenagers. Did quite enough of that when I was said whiffy teenager. So one has to question how revealing that observation is.

I know a fair few of the Dreded Wimmins involved in the hobby. Not all of them bother with the game, being instead into the art and painting side of things.

I’ll come back to this after work once I’ve had a chance to properly read and digest the article.

I don’t think I’ll edit this post, as I don’t want people thinking I’m trying to gloss over stuff I missed

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Made in it
Gargantuan Gargant




Italy

Why so few women wargamers?

The real questions should be: how many male nerds or people interested in fantasy/sci fi are actually wargamers? How many females? If the ratio is comparable, then the answer is: less women are interested in fantasy and sci-fi than males, simple.

There may be very few wargamer girls, but also few people that loves sci-fi and fantasy settings are actual wargamers. I know a lot of people that enjoy some sci-fi and fantasy stuff (books, comics, movies, tv series, videogames, even cosplay) but a tiny fraction of them is interested in wargaming, let alone painting models AND playing.


 
   
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[DCM]
Trustworthy Shas'vre





Leicester

I think the most interesting point in that article is the win at all costs attitude that can be very common in war gaming, particularly in public locations, which can be very off putting to new comers and people with a more casual interest, regardless of race, gender, etc. (but ads yet another barrier for those in a minority in the hobby). It also links to Kirotheavengers point; if you get brought into the hobby as a group activity with existing friends, you’ll see less of that issue.

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 Zed wrote:
*All statements reflect my opinion at this moment. if some sort of pretty new model gets released (or if I change my mind at random) I reserve the right to jump on any bandwagon at will.
 
   
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Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

 Jadenim wrote:
I think the most interesting point in that article is the win at all costs attitude that can be very common in war gaming...

To cut you off here I think that's actually a very good point.
Women are often less competitive than men, in my experience they prefer shared activities to competitions - that's very much not wargames, at least not the traditional/popular ones.
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it's exclusively conditioning, at all. When you give toys to monkeys girls, tend to take the soft toys and boys take the trucks, spin the wheels, and bash things.
How much the venn diagram of male and female likes/dislikes overlaps is debatable but it's definitely not a circle.



This is incorrect. What the studies found was that male monkeys preferred wheeled toys and hard toys, etc. over plush dolls, whereas female monkeys took equal interest in both kinds of toys.


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Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




And that's why there's more women in boardgaming than in wargaming.
I think I brought it up elsewhere today, but wargaming has the same "old boys club" feel RPGs had until late 90s-early 2000s, but whereas RPGs as a whole managed to get past it, and now catch majority of nerd girls, wargaming never did. Card games and boardgames were always (despite being competitive) more open to women participation too.
And this thread, despite I bet everyone in here thinking they're open-minded and fair, is a perfect microcosmos of that attitude.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 13:01:26


 
   
Made in gb
Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

chaos0xomega wrote:
 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it's exclusively conditioning, at all. When you give toys to monkeys girls, tend to take the soft toys and boys take the trucks, spin the wheels, and bash things.
How much the venn diagram of male and female likes/dislikes overlaps is debatable but it's definitely not a circle.



This is incorrect. What the studies found was that male monkeys preferred wheeled toys and hard toys, etc. over plush dolls, whereas female monkeys took equal interest in both kinds of toys.


You got me on the fine details.
I would hesitate to say I was incorrect though, the researchers concluded the same thing I did (and the same as a second study as well).

I do agree that wargames is a bit of an old boys club. But this is far from the exclusive reason there are so few women in the hobby.
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




Sure, but...again, there are women gamers, there are women in sports, there are women doing all sorts of "competitive" activities, including other tabletop gaming. Somehow wargaming is the one that just doesn't appeal?
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

 kirotheavenger wrote:
chaos0xomega wrote:
 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it's exclusively conditioning, at all. When you give toys to monkeys girls, tend to take the soft toys and boys take the trucks, spin the wheels, and bash things.
How much the venn diagram of male and female likes/dislikes overlaps is debatable but it's definitely not a circle.

This is incorrect. What the studies found was that male monkeys preferred wheeled toys and hard toys, etc. over plush dolls, whereas female monkeys took equal interest in both kinds of toys.

You got me on the fine details.
I would hesitate to say I was incorrect though, the researchers concluded the same thing I did (and the same as a second study as well).
I do agree that wargames is a bit of an old boys club. But this is far from the exclusive reason there are so few women in the hobby.

I think that depends on what you mean - you seem to have taken this to mean that women are the problem/aren't interested in wargaming on some sort of inherent gender basis. The study would imply that women aren't really the problem since "equal interest" implies that women would have the same inherent proclivity towards wargaming as men do, only perhaps being diluted by the presence of other interests as well whereas men are seemingly more limited and focused.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:07:52


This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
Made in gb
Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

Cronch wrote:
Sure, but...again, there are women gamers, there are women in sports, there are women doing all sorts of "competitive" activities, including other tabletop gaming. Somehow wargaming is the one that just doesn't appeal?

Sports is a team game. There's also less women in sports than there are men.
I'm obviously not saying no woman ever enjoys competitive sports, but generalising; women are less interested in that than men.
   
Made in us
5th God of Chaos! (Yea'rly!)




The Great State of Texas

The wife always noted that war-gaming events physically smelled bad and that whenever she came in the looks would creep her out.

She did not get this vibe taking the Boy to card or other tournaments, only when visiting me at a 40K tournament.

GC was an active DnD / LARP/ video games / board games comic chicka but had absolutely no interest in wargaming.

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Made in pl
Longtime Dakkanaut




Do tell me how biathlon or marathon running is a team game (or even the supremely "girly" sport of dressage or fencing). And again, even if we assume that somehow fewer women are competitive, WHY do those fewer women gravitate towards anything but tabletop wargaming when they thrive in adjecent hobbies?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:34:59


 
   
Made in gb
Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

chaos0xomega wrote:

I think that depends on what you mean - you seem to have taken this to mean that women are the problem/aren't interested in wargaming on some sort of inherent gender basis. The study would imply that women aren't really the problem since "equal interest" implies that women would have the same inherent proclivity towards wargaming as men do, only perhaps being diluted by the presence of other interests as well whereas men are seemingly more limited and focused.

It feels really nitpicky, but I don't like to say "women are the problem". It's not a problem, it's just a trend.

You're absolutely right that women's interests are more diluted by other interests whereas men are more focused. That alone will lead to gender representation skews.
If you see, say, 75% of men liking wargames but 50% of women you'll see men outnumbering women 3:2, which will then snow ball as more men bring in male friends and it snowballs into a 'old boys club'. Obviously those numbers are just plucked out of my arse to demonstrate the core theory.
That's also not the only reason but a reason. Women in wargaming is obviously a complex topic with a multi-faceted explanation.



Automatically Appended Next Post:
Cronch wrote:
Do tell me how biathlon or marathon running is a team game (or even the supremely "girly" sport of dressage or fencing). And again, even if we assume that somehow fewer women are competitive, WHY do those fewer women gravitate towards anything but tabletop wargaming when they thrive in adjecent hobbies?

Because there are other factors.
Women tend to be less interested in war than men as another factor.
Wargaming does have an old-boys-club sense about it that adjacent hobbies like rpgs have lost. I think they've put a lot of effort into shaking that stereotype in a way that wargames have not.
It's loads and loads of these slight gender-trends/biased that all combine into the dynamic that we see today.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:38:45


 
   
Made in fi
Purposeful Hammerhead Pilot






I think its going to be changing little by little. When I was a kid, I didn't know of many girls who played video games either. Girls already seem to be painting minis so the actual wargames will follow sooner or later.

But playing pickup games at the FLGS? Fuggetabout it They will mostly prefer playing with people they know, and cant blame them tbh

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:40:33


 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran



London

 Jadenim wrote:
I think the most interesting point in that article is the win at all costs attitude that can be very common in war gaming *snip*


Its a real problem in professional wargames and training serials. If you are red/white teams you often have to manage such people into roles where they are limited to play the game not the scenario.

It also affects the take away's. Scroll down here for the aftershocks bit (aftershocks is a great game to run for teams or small offices incidentally).
https://wavellroom.com/2021/01/15/wargaming-has-a-diversity-problem/



Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Blackie wrote:

The real questions should be: how many male nerds or people interested in fantasy/sci fi are actually wargamers? How many females? If the ratio is comparable, then the answer is: less women are interested in fantasy and sci-fi than males, simple.


Anecdotally boardgaming and RPGs have far more women. Indeed the clubs I have attended in big cities they are often majority women (luckily you can always scurry back to the wargamers).
Even if there is a significant difference, there are also historical and contemporary wargames, so it isn't just Sci Fantasy.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:43:12


 
   
Made in pl
Longtime Dakkanaut




 tauist wrote:

But playing pickup games at the FLGS? Fuggetabout it They will mostly prefer playing with people they know, and cant blame them tbh

Yeah, we once again fall back on women playing board, card, even RPGs in lgs's, but (often) not wargames. And honestly I'm not surprised. Hang out at the wargame table enough, and you'll hear some amazingly hidebound comments and gross jokes. Those happen everywhere, but at the RPG table, you will get bonked for that kind of behavior hard.


Because there are other factors.
Women tend to be less interested in war than men as another factor.

We went from "women are not as competitive" to "women don't like war as much", which I guess is some progress, the blanket statement is no longer the size of texas. But even if we assume that most women aren't interested in war, you get those that will happily play war themed boardgames, or RPGs where combat is the key aspect (D&D) or even card games where it's rare to not have some sort of war as theme, but stray away from wargaming. And they're not scared off by the hobby aspect, as noted there's plenty of women painters around. And you have outliers like Malifaux, which are as brutal as any other wargame (even more so, dead bodies are a resource in the game), but seem to garner much greater attention than say, warmachine or warhammer.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:54:20


 
   
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Rogue Daemonhunter fueled by Chaos






Macon, GA

At first, I read the article and agreed with the thesis, even finding it self evidence. Tabletop wargaming is pretty far on the geeky side of the gaming spectrum, requiring a ton of esoteric knowledge as well as a lot of materials and prep time. Further, warhammer players tend to see the hobby as a boys club, perhaps benignly as an escape from wives, all the way to some pretty ugly misogyny at times. (I always say that between varsity sports, a college fraternity, and Wargaming, I have seen more open bigotry in Wargaming than anywhere else).

That all being said, correlation is not causation. Lots of communities were hostile to women joining, but women wanted to join them and did so. I'm curious if it's really the attitudes that are keeping women away. It seems logical, and the woman's experience in that article seems legit.

I think it's pretty telling that when you look at gaming as a whole, female participation goes down as barriers to entry go up. Women make up over half of mobile gamers, less than half but a lot of console and board gamers, a large minority of RPG players, A solid slice of CCG players, and a tiny drop of miniatures players.

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Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

I think that article rather overreaches when it compares desire to win a game with white male dick dominance over all the women and minorities.

Although the message it seems to being trying to convey is probably sound; people can approach these games for different reasons and men tend to favour the competitive approach more than women, which results in women being pushed out of wargaming and into other places that favour their approach more, such as RPGs.

We see this schism among our own community, the classic narrative/casual vs competitive gamer argument.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/06/07 14:53:56


 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran



London

 kirotheavenger wrote:
*snip* white *snip*


Well that is another issue. Though anecdotally for me I have seen a change between say the 'old' (historical) club of 50+ (ok mostly 60+ now) guys and the younger one. The 'younger' club is more proportionate to the local area and matches what you would expect to see, the older club is mostly white guys and exceptions tend to be people travelling from overseas and visiting as opposed to home grown players. Of course that could be proportionate to what it was in the area 40 years ago in terms of who had the leisure time for such pursuits.
   
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Not another of these articles.

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Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

I think that's a whole other discussion.
You're right though, I've seen far more women in wargaming than I've seen non-whites.
Incidentally, the military is the same. It has a reputation for being male-heavy but there's more women in the military than black men, at all ranks.

It's made more complex because a lot of factors that logically lead to a male-female divide don't seem to do the same for black-white.
The only reason I can think of is different social circles. When I was at school the black kids generally had their group and the white kids had theirs. These weren't exclusive groups, blacks and whites would chat and have fun together, but would still gravitate towards themselves.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 16:00:07


 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

 kirotheavenger wrote:

Incidentally, the military is the same. It has a reputation for being male-heavy but there's more women in the military than men, at all ranks.


Uhh, not sure if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, and maybe the UK is different, but in the US this isn't even remotely true. As of 2019 women make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps. Looking up the UK it looks like you would still be incorrect: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-2020/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-1-april-2020? With only 10-11% of the british military being female, I honestly have zero idea how you could make this error or what it was you were actually trying to say.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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Bristol (UK)

Sorry, typo - missed a word!
That's meant to be black men.

The British army is 10.9% female (disproportionately officers though) and only 8.8% BAME (spread roughly equal through the ranks).

Interestingly it equals up a bit in reserves; which are 14.9% female and 5.7% BAME.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/07 16:03:51


 
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I think the important thing is to separate barriers to entry in general from barriers of a specific target group (in this case women).

Something like cost being a barrier to entry is only valid if you can prove significant income variation between men and women interested in wargaming. Otherwise its simply a regular barrier to entry that is universal be you man or woman.



Now don't get me wrong, removing barrier to entry and gatekeeping are good things all round; however if the objective is the study and resolution of one specific target group then its important to have a clearer understanding of that target group.


Honestly I'd say one of the biggest issues is that we likely don't have enough data to really pool into structure to move forward with easily. Likely as a result of a lack of central pooling of data; but also because when someone leaves early and isn't interested then you are going ot miss their data. IF they never step into the community its hard for the community to work out the reasons why.
One also has to be careful that you actually pool the right population group who would be receptive to wargaming bar the barriers of entry. Otherwise you run the risk that you go chasing a market of people to appease who aren't really interested at all anyway.




Personally I think there are casual ways to encourage which don't require major changes - one easy one is the more active promotion of women within wargaming in general. More women doing battle reports; playing games; doing painting sessions; doing book and model reviews; codex reviews and the like. Like follows like and its one way to encourage a steady social change and attract new people without really changing anything fundamental.

   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 kirotheavenger wrote:
Sorry, typo - missed a word!
That's meant to be black men.

The British army is 10.9% female (disproportionately officers though) and only 8.8% BAME (spread roughly equal through the ranks).

Interestingly it equals up a bit in reserves; which are 14.9% female and 5.7% BAME.



Ok, that makes a lot more sense.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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 kirotheavenger wrote:
Sorry, typo - missed a word!
That's meant to be black men.

The British army is 10.9% female (disproportionately officers though) and only 8.8% BAME (spread roughly equal through the ranks).

Interestingly it equals up a bit in reserves; which are 14.9% female and 5.7% BAME.


I know nothing on the topic, but google indicates that roughly 13.8% of the general population is BAME, so 8.8% representation isn't terribly far off.

There's probably disparity on the communities soldiers come from also, so it'd be interesting to see a cross correlation with that.
   
 
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