A vision for women in virtual reality

Researchers from the University of Brighton are behind a pioneering new document that outlines future aims for women and gender equality in the virtual reality industry.

A Vision for Women in Virtual Reality (VWVR), launched at the Augmented World Expo, is funded and developed in collaboration with academics from the University of Brighton and King’s College London as well as virtual reality platform Liminia Immersive and gaming project ReFig.

The document has been created by 20 influential women in the UK VR workforce. It is described as a “rallying cry to steer the industry in a direction that reflects society’s best self rather than its worst”.

According to a study by NESTA, only 14% of VR companies in the UK have any female representation in their leadership. EY reports a gender gap in people using VR, with 20% of UK men experiencing the technology and only 14% of women.

This data shows that the majority of VR tools, experiences and games are being designed by men for a mostly male audience.

VWVR aims to make the most of VR’s relative newness, at a time where standards and norms are still being shaped in the field. The document is designed as a “response to the present and a plan for the future, where the immersive sector challenges the status quo of gender imbalance in related industries”.

Helen Kennedy, Head of the School of Media at the University of Brighton, is one of the creators of the document. She said: “My vision and ambition is to ensure that the empowering tools of VR storytelling are accessible to all and that the stories we tell and the images we create reflect the full diversity of experiences that make up our shared culture.”

For more information on how to support A Vision for Women and VR, and for the full list of supporters, visit vwvr.org

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