The diversity survey results are in and have been compiled into a handy deck of cards. Instructions are included for a group activity, but in these socially-distant times they work just as well for solo reflection. No plans for hardcopy just yet, but feel free to print your own.
The featured vignettes are just a snapshot of the real things actually happening to women and minority professional wargamers and analysts that have been sent to me through the diversity survey. It makes for some sobering reading.
A few thoughts on the survey itself:
1. It’s bad for women. But there aren’t even double-figures when it comes to non-white wargamers.
Yuna Wong joked when she was asked about her experience and the interviewer caveated that he wasn’t expecting her to speak for all non-white wargamers, “It’s fine, the other one is ok with me speaking for him.”
I think it would be easy to focus on misogynism only, because there are more women to complain about it. Wargaming really needs to ask uncomfortable questions about what’s keeping it so white.
2. A flavour of responses that didn’t feature in the card deck:
“Please note that you can use quotes but I insist on remaining anonymous. I don’t fancy the vitriol and trolling.”
“My husband points out [the fact] that being female makes me diverse is damning.”
“The Connections Community looks very non-diverse, but actually they are quite inclusive.”
3. Men might be shocked to learn that women wargamers have to think about keeping themselves safe from sexual assault.
4. Things that are good:
- Representation! At games and in games
- Groups that are vocal about being inclusive
- Supportive (male) colleagues who make space at the table
- Being seen as a player not someone with a disability (or other minority)
- Bad Squiddo miniatures!
- Anti-harassment policies
- Allies who don’t tolerate bad behaviour
- Connections’ wonderful culture of sharing ideas
- University wargaming is very welcoming
5. Barriers to wargaming for diverse gamers include:
- Stereotyping of minorities
- Childcare (an issue for men and women)
- Being presumed ignorant, incompetent, or subordinate for being a woman and seeing men treated the opposite
- Fewer opportunities, less support
- Sexual assault
- Physical intimidation
- Getting started in professional wargaming involves roles that are not welcoming for women
- Jokes that are not funny
- Demeaning and belittling of women
- Trolls, particularly in the hobby wargaming community
- People who say gender/sexuality is irrelevant to wargaming but really mean straight white male sexuality is irrelevant and everything else is not appropriate
6. Things people would like to see change:
- Act quicker to challenge bad behaviour, it shouldn’t have to escalate before people speak up.
- Allies need to speak out instead of staying quiet
- Enough with the objectification of women in artwork (chain mail bikinis, sexualised poses, etc)
- Better diversity/cultural representation in game design feedback
- Engage with schools to showcase range and accessibility of wargames, it’s not all Warhammer
- Women should not be a minority !
- Political wargames should include representation of minorities since these are real political issues
- Role models: want to see diversity in senior positions please
- Clearer pathways for people wanting to get into professional wargaming and better signposting of existing opportunities to participate
- More gender neutral pronouns when referring to roles/pieces that are not a specific person (e.g. “this pilot, they” rather than “this pilot, he“)
You can read the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming here.