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Sweden wants to label games that promote gender equality

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Sweden is seeking new ways to reward games that promote gender equality, according to trade body Dataspelsbranschen.

Dataspelsbranschen has been awarded 272,000 kronor (roughly $36,672) by the Swedish government to explore ways of supporting video games that offer diverse gender choices, including the creation of labels that could be placed on the package of games at launch.

Alternatively, the trade group may offer companies that promote gender equality with certification that can be used throughout their marketing of the game.

"I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area," Dataspelsbranschen manager Anton Albiin said in a statement to The Local.

"Of course games can be about fantasy but they can be so much more than this. They can also be a form of cultural expression - reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things."

As was previously reported, developers in Sweden are taking a stand against harassment in the video game industry, denouncing threats, intimidation and hate as unacceptable - including recent events some link to GamerGate.

The declaration, translated via Google, comes from academics and representatives in the Swedish gaming industry, including Avalanche Studios, Coffee Stain Studios, DICE, Paradox Interactive, Mojang and Ubisoft Massive. We've contacted all those listed for comment and will update accordingly. The publication does not specifically mention GamerGate, but links to a piece discussing its origins and effects.

The GamerGate movement and Twitter hashtag is a social campaign defined by most supporters as a call to effect change in video game journalism and to defend the "gamer" identity. The movement is difficult to define because what it has come to represent has no central leadership or agreed-upon manifesto. The hashtag was first used by actor Adam Baldwin in August after intimate details of a personal relationship between a video game developer and a video game journalist were made public and led some to allege cronyism between press and developers. The campaign is now also linked to ongoing and well-established harassment of women in video games, including Depression Quest creator Zoe Quinn, Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian and Giant Spacekat head Brianna Wu, though many of GamerGate's supporters deny the campaign should be blamed for harassment.

Check out our interview with a number of Swedish developers on why harassment within the games industry must go away.