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Tomb Raider writer: industry 'gender balance' can be changed by noting negatives as well as positives

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Rhianna Pratchett's continued support of the #1ReasonToBe movement, a collective call for support of women in the games industry and a call to end present sexism, comes from her desire to inspire young women who want to work in games but are hesitant to make the jump, the writer told Rock Paper Shotgun.

Pratchett, who has written scripts for numerous games including Mirror's Edge and the recent Tomb Raider reboot, said that although she hasn't had any of the "more extreme" experiences her peers have reported, the movement itself has "lit a fire" in her.

"I've really realized in the last year how much being a visible industry female matters to people," she said. "Not necessarily as much to myself, or to other female developers already in the industry, but those who are um-ing and err-ing at the side-lines. Hesitant to make the jump, or even try to."

Pratchett said she has spent the last few months visiting girls' schools and talking to young women about design and narrative in games and working in the industry.

"They light up," she said. "Like they've just stepped through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia. It heart-warming, even for someone who's not yet managed to graduate beyond cat ownership. I've gained so much from this industry and this feels, at least in part, like a way of giving back."

Pratchett added that while the #1ReasonWhy movement highlighted some "shocking, saddening and predictable" problems, the industry needs to maintain perspective and acknowledge these negatives as well as the positives, if the "gender balance" of the industry is going to change.

"The main reason why I started #1reasontobe is because I believe that raising awareness of what a great industry this can be, and what opportunities there are for men and women alike, is fundamental in tackling these problems," she said.

Polygon spoke with the creators of the #1ReasonWhy movement when it began on Twitter in November. You can read our interview here.