While the final credits unveil the hidden heroes – the game designers – their journey often remains shrouded in mystery. However, a glaring gender gap persists within this creative realm.

A Historical Lens

Understanding this disparity requires a retrospective glance at the industry's evolution. For decades, gaming was stereotyped as a boys' club. However, the 1980s ushered in a pivotal shift with the arrival of home consoles like the NES, making gaming accessible to all, including women.
Despite this newfound inclusivity, women remained largely sidelined in the development process. The 1990s witnessed a gradual shift as more women ventured into game development, though their presence in South Asia remains significantly underrepresented.
In Pakistan, for instance, a mere 17.4% of women worked in Animation, Game, and Graphic Companies (AGG) in 2022, according to the Pakistan Animation, Graphics and Games Ecosystem Report 2022-23 by P@SHA. While this reflects a positive increase of 94% from 2020, men still hold the vast majority of positions within the AGG sector.

The Power of Diverse Voices

Fortunately, recent years have seen a concerted effort to bridge this gap, spearheaded by organizations like Girls Make Games. This has yielded impressive progress, with women making a profound impact on the gaming landscape.
Storytelling Spectrum
One of the most significant contributions women bring to the table is their unique perspective. Their distinctive life experiences often translate into games that deviate from the norm established by their male counterparts. This enriches the gaming experience by offering a broader spectrum of narratives and gameplay dynamics.
Furthermore, women developers are more likely to create games with female protagonists, challenging the traditional male-dominated landscape. Games like "Uncharted: Lost Legacy," featuring the South Asian descent heroine Chloe Frazer, mark a welcome step towards inclusivity. However, there's still considerable space for further progress in this area.
Closing the Gap
Undoubtedly, there's a pressing need to further encourage women's participation in the industry. Game development companies in South Asia can play a crucial role by actively diversifying their workforce and ensuring equal opportunities for female applicants. Recognizing the unique value proposition that women bring to the development process is also crucial.
By implementing these changes, we can pave the way for greater female involvement, ultimately strengthening their impact on the industry. This, in turn, can inspire young girls to embrace gaming not just as players, but also as potential future developers shaping the industry's tomorrow.

Influential Women You Should Know

As we wrap up, we want to showcase some of the women who are creating an impact in the gaming industry of South Asia, and who are likely involved in some of the projects that you may enjoy and admire:
It is also essential to acknowledge the efforts of women who are building platforms and networks to enable people to grow in this domain:

A Future Filled with Potential

The gaming industry, like many others, is relatively young and grapples with similar longstanding gender barriers. While challenges like the perception of limited female players and the need for more skilled professionals persist, the tide is turning.
Today's young girls are empowered to pursue their passions unhindered, paving the way for a future where they can become esports players, game developers, designers, or even writers within the gaming world.
South Asia, too, is gradually transforming into a potential gaming hub, with a focus on the mobile market catering to diverse genres like fantasy sports, real money gaming, and educational games. Alongside this growth, fostering gender inclusivity within the industry remains paramount.
By amplifying the voices of women and creating a more equitable environment, we can unlock the full potential of the gaming industry, not just in South Asia, but across the globe. Here are some key areas where we can foster an environment that encourages more women to pursue this exciting field:
Educational Support
Government Support

Written By

Ahad H. Bandeli

Head of Marketing