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ByJessica Montoya Cogginsand David Mccormack
Published: 03:05 GMT, 30 March 2013 | Updated: 15:05 GMT, 30 March 2013
A party at a gaming conference featuring women wearing skimpy clothes while dancing on stage has caused several high profile female industry figures to speak out about what they say is the unacceptable level of sexism that still persists within their field of work.
The Game Developers Conference is a four-day event, held in San Francisco, which is the largest annual gathering of professional video game developers. It finished on Friday and the issue dominating much of the event was that women working in the industry have had enough of being demeaned and objectified by their male counterparts.
Brenda Romero, disgusted by the dancing girls at an event co-organized by the International Game Developer’s Association, promptly resigned her position as co-chair of it’s Women in Games group via Twitter.
Taking a stand: Meagan Marie, left, and Brenda Romero, right, have both spoken out this week about the overt sexism that still exists within the gaming industry
Dancing girls: Women in skimpy clothing are apparently still acceptable at gaming industry events in 2013
‘Two women walked up to me this morning with tears in their eyes and thanked me,’ Romero wrote in a follow-up tweet. ‘Now I have tears in my eyes.’
The IGDA, a non-profit organization, has acknowledged that some of the performers’ outfits were inappropriate, reports Business Insider.
‘We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation,’ read an IGDA statement.
‘We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people.’
She wasn’t the only woman determined to take a stand against sexism within the industry.
On Tuesday, Meagan Marie, who works for Crystal Dynamics who make games including Tomb Raider, also took a public stand against the sexism she had had to endure at PAX, a gamers conference the previous week.
Gender equality has become a hot-button issue in Silicon Valley, especially on the heels of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’
Marie is known for organizing ‘cosplay’ events where gamers dress up in costumes. Many video games depict women in revealing clothes and so some of the costumes were sexy.
Unfortunately, blogged Marie, some men think that gives them the right to be vulgar or aggressive.
‘The situation this weekend at PAX made me question why I’m willing to stand up for others, but not myself. By allowing myself to be treated this way I’m perpetuating that this behavior is acceptable.
‘And it isn’t. If I continue stand by silently, I might as well sit on the sidelines and watch while other young women endure what I have.
‘The treatment and representation of women in gaming has come to a head this past year, and I know some of you are tired of hearing about it. I’m tired of living it.
Adria Richards was fired from her job at tech company SendGrid after sending this tweet alleging sexual innuendos from several men at a California conference
Richards attended the popular SXSW conference in Austin, TX earlier this month
‘I want to feel safe and valued as a member of this industry, whether I’m conducting an interview, talking to fans on a convention floor, or cosplaying. And I have a right to that,’ she wrote.
The issue of sexism remains an issue throughout Silicon Valley. A female Silicon Valley developer was fired from her job after tweeting a picture of two computer programmers making an apparently sexist remark.
Adria Richards had been working for SendGrid, developers of a cloud-based e-mail system, when she attended the PyCon Conference in Santa Clara, California last week and tweeted and blogged about what she perceived was inappropriate conduct from several of the male attendees.
From Richards, the conversation the men had concerned ‘big dongles.’ A dongle is actually a device that plugs into a computer, but Richards maintains the men were using it in a sexual manner.
Meanwhile the issue is also touched on in Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In, in which she offer advice for how women can get ahead in the male-dominated workplace.
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