Masculine domination and gender subtexts: The role of female professionals in the renewal of the Swedish video game industry
Journal article, 2016

The video game industry is a showcase industry in the entrepreneurial, knowledge-intensive, and technology-based economy. Despite recent technological shifts rendering digital media portable in the form of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, attracting new categories of gamers, most notably women above the age of 35, the video game industry is struggling to handle its masculine domination, prescribing specific and gendered divisions of labor in terms of lowering thresholds for female video game developers. This article reports on empirical material based on interviews from the burgeoning Swedish video game industry and suggests that female professionals entering the industry encounter inherited gendered beliefs and ways of organizing work which locate women in specific, and not always desirable, roles within the industry. In this regime of masculine domination, the study concludes, female video game developers are understood as a particular group primarily knowledgeable about female gamers’ preferences and not as the possessors of general skills attractive to the video game companies. Ultimately, the masculine domination and the historical gendered divisions of labor are preventing the industry from creating more gender-equal workplaces and, as a consequence, fully exploiting market potentials.

female professionals

gender relations

video game development

professional role confidence


Alexander Styhre

University of Gothenburg

Björn Remneland Wikhamn

University of Gothenburg

Anna Maria Szczepanska

University of Gothenburg

Jan Ljungberg

University of Gothenburg

Culture and Organization

1475-9551 (ISSN) 1477-2760 (eISSN)

Subject Categories

Business Administration



More information