A new survey shows 59% of women hide their gender while gaming to avoid harassment

Team Fortress Spy being shocked
(Image credit: Valve)

Technology company Lenovo tasked a market research consultancy with conducting a survey on the experience of female gamers and found that for most of them, harassment is still part and parcel of the gaming experience, with 59% of participants saying they avoid revealing their gender in order to be left in peace.

The next point the survey mentions makes it clear why—77% of women have to deal with some form of unwanted behaviour while gaming, whether it's their competency being questioned (70%), they're falling victim to gatekeeping (65%) or they're being patronised (50%). On the other end of the spectrum, what the survey calls "unsolicited relationship asks" are an annoyance 44% of women have to deal with. 71% of participants pointed out that to help with these issues, they need companies to help, for example by gaming ads being more diverse.

While the study also points out that women play the same games as men, with 88% playing co-cop and competition-style games and 66% playing shooters, it's not just the idea that women aren't "real gamers" that makes it difficult for them to enjoy gaming. Female streamers for example are dealing with being misunderstood from their own platforms, and have to accept harassment simply as a byproduct of being visible while lacking reliable support to combat it. While the study's findings won't be news to many, it's still good to have a reminder of an ongoing problem in order to start the conversation necessary to lead to some form of improvement.