Drawing upon the sociology of technology, techno-feminism and over a decade of research on digital games I argue that digital games needs an ethics of inclusion that goes beyond current diversity initiatives, and as educators and researchers we need to consider the ways in which digital games and broader technological cultures produce socio-technical distinctions, especially in relation to gender (Kerr 2017, Kerr and Kelleher 2015). While much attention has been focussed on the representation of women in STeM industries and addressing the pipeline into formal education, less attention has been paid to the role of informal learning and local technological cultures in reinforcing the gendered digital divide.
The association of gender and digital technologies continues in high technology start up culture. Dublin, Ireland is home to a flourishing scene of technological meet ups, hackathons and game jams which promote informal learning in non-institutional settings to adults and are organised through online tools. Building upon geek and hacker culture these events promote user innovation, technological tinkering, breaking and making. However, our survey and observational research which explored the gendered participation and structuring of informal non-commercial ‘game jam’ events in Dublin would suggest that such events are neither diverse nor inclusive. Drawing upon ongoing work the paper then explores alternative ways to collectively organise and frame informal learning events that embrace equality, diversity and activism and the initial outcomes of interventions in the ‘informal education’ sector that seek to challenge what constitutes a digital game and who can make them (Jenson and de Castell 2015, Sorensen, Faulkner, and Rommes 2011, Fisher and Harvey 2013).