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If the gaming industry is to prosper, it must represent the rising variety of its population, according to Sandhya Devanathan, Asia-Pacific vice president for the global gaming business at Meta.
"It's not just a social necessity; it's also an economic one," Devanathan said on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on International Women's Day, Tuesday. Facebook changed their name to Meta in 2021.
Gender diversity in the United States – a statistical analysis
According to Accenture, the worldwide gaming business, which saw a boost in demand during the pandemic, was valued at more than $300 billion in April 2021 and is anticipated to continue increasing.
Women now make up over half of the gaming business, and games must reflect this expanding diversity, according to Devanathan.
She quoted Meta's December 2020 study report, claiming that "many gamers would play more or identify more with the game if they saw themselves represented in the game as characters."
In fact, just 35% of those polled saw someone who resembled them, she continued. According to the report, minority gamers are more likely to feel alienated and are less likely to participate.
What is Meta up to?
When asked what Meta is doing in response to these findings, Devanathan stated that the company has partnered with academics, think tanks, and civil rights organizations to "create inclusiveness and diversity by design."
She went on to say that the corporation has launched a $50 million fund as well as a two-year research program with that goal in mind.
While Meta is working to increase its diversity, the corporation has been chastised in the past. It received criticism for its 2020 annual diversity report, which revealed that the number of female employees climbed from 36.3 percent in 2018 to 36.9 percent in 2019, while the number of Black and Hispanic workers combined increased from 8.4 percent to 9 percent. It also had fewer women on its payroll in June 2021 than the previous year.
Devanathan, who joined the tech sector after 15 years in banking, agreed that there is still a long way to go toward equal gender representation in tech. She went on to say that she believed her personal instance was an exception, and that women are still underrepresented on boards.
She highlighted an internal Hewlett Packard analysis that revealed that men apply for jobs even if they only meet 60 percent of the prerequisites, whereas women only apply if they meet all of them.
When asked by CNBC for advise for women seeking a mid-career change, she said they shouldn't underestimate the talents and information they've gained over their careers.
She went on to say that because the developing tech sector is so new, many people may not even have the qualifications, and that women should take a "leap of faith" by moving across industries and learning new skills to prepare for the future.
This story has been updated to reflect that Meta has put $50 million into its research fund. The figure was incorrect in an earlier edition.
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