Home Gaming Women, Men, and The “Gender Performance Gap”

Women, Men, and The “Gender Performance Gap”

written by Jason Marcano July 15, 2016

The Conversation carried out a study recently to determine if there was a “Gender Performance Gap” when it came to how men and women progress in games. Specifically in this case two MMORPGS, “Everquest II” and “Chevaliers’ Romance III,” in America and China respectively. 10,000 men and women participated in the experiment. The results shatter a commonly held stereotype: Women just aren’t good gamers.

It has been a long held belief that for some inexplicable reason men were better at games then women. It’s not difficult to see how such a stereotype was birthed. Since the dawn of gaming time games have been primarily marketed at males; almost exclusively.

You could watch nearly any video game ad from the 90s and, even though they never said it directly, the message was clear. Games are for boys. As a child of the nineties I can attest to swallowing this crap wholesale. It was a time before the internet was as accessible as it is now. A time when my sister played with her Barbies and I, my Marios.

In 2016, the girls have come out of the metaphorical gaming closet. They’ve been out for awhile now truthfully. Many were just stubbornly clinging to the myth of the bad girl gamer despite the evidence other wise.

The study done by The Conversation examined the progress made by men and women in the two MMORPGS made some interesting discoveries on why women are perceived as the poorer gamer:

  • …we found that women spent less time playing overall than men and chose more assistive character classes, such as Priests, who fare better healing group members than fighting on their own. When we took such factors into account by statistically controlling them in the analyses, the gender performance gap disappeared; women advanced at least as fast as men did in both games.
  • …men tend to focus more on achievement in video games – leveling up rapidly, gaining in-game status and competing against others – while women are drawn to social interactions, whether it’s helping other players or forming long-term relationships.
  • Women advanced at least as fast as men did. So taking into account different play motivations (which we were unable to do in this study’s analysis) likely only strengthens our conclusions.

We now have science proving that women can game just as good as, or even better than, men.


Maybe we can finally give the silly debates a rest. Some developers and advertisers have started making progress, but more could be done to help destroy the stereotype they essentially created.

But we geeks can start the change at home. Next time your sister, wife, or girlfriend asks for the controller, give it to her. Don’t give her a condescending look and just scoff. She may end up with a better K/D ratio.

Source: The Conversation 

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