Some 59% of gamers who are women and girls have experienced some form of toxicity from male gamers, according to a new survey by Bryter, with 28% saying that they experience this regularly online. Those aged 16-24 years the most targeted.

The research agency, which has collaborated with Women in Games previously on research into toxicity, surveyed 500 British women and girls who play games, asking them about their online gaming experiences. They were also asked to share details about the threatening and abusive behaviour they faced from male gamers while gaming on laptops, PCs and consoles.

The report also reveals that, of those who have experienced online abuse:

  • 14% had received threats of rape
  • 30% had been sexually harassed
  • 30% had been sent inappropriate content
  • 42% received verbal abuse

Gamers also shared that the toxicity in the gaming community has impacted their mental health (14%) and has changed how they game online as they want to avoid unpleasant interactions online.

34% of women and girls who are gamers stated that they avoid speaking in online games due to fear of negative reactions from male gamers, whilst 20% choose to leave the game completely. Only half of female gamers ignore or mute toxic players online.

Bryter’s survey revealed that there has been a 12% decrease in those experiencing toxicity compared to the previous year, indicating some improvement since their last report. However, their findings still demonstrate that more needs to be done to support women and girls in the online gaming space.

Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman, said: Women in Games are extremely grateful for the insights the Bryter Women in Games surveys have provided over the last six years which have enabled us to understand the nature and amount of toxicity that is taking place online against girls and women. This important research has enabled us to amplify discussion and dialogue on the subject at our events and also work towards addressing the challenge with solutions.

“Although slight, it is good to see reductions in the levels of toxicity in the 2023 survey. It brings hope that the tide can turn, on this particular area of harassment, that occurs in the ‘virtual playspace’. Clearly there is more work to be done and Women in Games calls on industry and government to support us and our initiatives in tackling this negative aspect of game play.

Bryter’s Research Director – Head of Gaming Jenny McBean (pictured) offered: “While it is certainly positive to see a slight decrease in the amount of women gamers experiencing toxic and threatening behaviours, the levels are still worryingly high. Women now make up around half of the gamer population, and yet are still made to feel excluded and uncomfortable. It’s important that the gaming industry continues to tackle the issue, ensuring that gaming is inclusive for everyone, for players and employees.” 

To read the full report, click here – https://www.bryter-global.com/women-gamers-report-2023