Does Games Workshop break equality laws?

(79 Posts)
belledechocolatefluffybunny Fri 03-Sep-10 23:43:40

considering 99% of it's staff are male and 99% of it's stock are plastic figures of men? The only female figures they have are half naked women with a push up bra. Ds is going to an event at the local store tomorrow and the mothers were asked to supply a cake!

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sun 05-Sep-10 13:10:53

No, she looked knackered as she just had to do more and more to the cake, sounded like OCD to me.

Goblinchild Sun 05-Sep-10 13:17:57

Asking mums to make cakes sounds like hopeful and tactless teenage tactics to me.
Including the pathetic 'mothers are better at making cakes'
A verbal reprimand would suffice IMO.grin
Catering and being a top chef. Now that's a really sexist industry to get your teeth into.

The cakes thing is unreasonable, but I don't think you can move from that to generalisations about hiring practices. Definitely pull them up on it, though.

edam, I really can't see anyone on this thread saying that women would be crap at the job. They are saying (a) that in order to be good at the job you need to be a borderline-obsessive gaming geek, and (b) that the pool of "people who are borderline-obsessive gaming geeks" is overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, male. Do you have any evidence to challenge either of those statements?

I was never a serious gamer but used to paint figures and always found GW a very welcoming and non-threatening environment.

PaintbrushJo Wed 03-Oct-12 11:34:19

I was talking about this last night with friends. One of the OH's oldest friends works in the Head Office. I play myself, and it's how I met the OH.

Apparently, it's because they don't get a lot of applicants at the retail level. Games Workshop's retail is very, very poorly paid and the people who tend to work their are picked because they love it. They look for stable, enthuiastic people who are utterly obssesed with toysoldiers. These tend to be boys who happen to have gotten taller without growing up. They also look for those in a stable relationship, preferably with kids of their own, as a big part of the job is dealing with young boys.

Most of the models are exagerrations; this is a big part of their 'design ethic', it's all big and loud. So the men look like this:

www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat440247a&prodId=prod30015a

and women look like this:
www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?prodId=prod1160051a

the gender-abandoned post-human monsters look like this:

www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?prodId=prod680007a

and the giant spider dinosaurs look like this:

www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?prodId=prod1460211a

At the Game Design and head office level, it's a lot better; this is the part where they actually make the game, and there is more equality. It still isn't even, but they have female games designers, painters, novel writers, sculptors, senior managers, Human Resource managers, etc. They are also more than a few husband and wife teams, it's encouraged, I gather. If you're good, happy with a below average wage, like toysolders and willing to live in Nottingham, they'll hire you.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 03-Oct-12 12:23:45

The cake thing does show a general assumption about gender roles. That may also be reflected in hriing and staffing practice, but there's not proof that that is so and I don't think the high male staff ratio is necessarily down to that sort of discrimination, I think it just as likely it is because of the way our society as a whole encourages gender polarized views of appropriate jobs onto us.

I have found that a lot of the male geeks into things like role playing games are very welcoming of girls and women into the environment, but they don't ctually think of them as equal. Like much of our society, the men want women to be girlfriends, be decroative, serve their emotional and physical needs. Lots of girls and women fall into this role (throughout our culture, not just in sci-fi/geeky subculture), it's hard to forge a different path.

I've done tabletop for years and play male characters as the scantily clad female that is ubiquitous with any kind of RPG get on my tits.

sashh Thu 04-Oct-12 04:51:29

Does Claire's Accssessories break equality laws? I've never been served by a man in there, and all the customers appear to be female too.

Himalaya Thu 04-Oct-12 07:57:32

As the young assistant in my local store says "I love this job because I get paid to come and hang out at GW, which is what I would be doing anyway"

I agree with whoever upthread said that if other businesses could get staff to have the same level of knowledge and enthusiasm as GW staff the world would be a better place.

DilysPrice Thu 04-Oct-12 08:19:05

I'll get concerned about this when and if I see testimony from a female GW geek who was made to feel uncomfortable about playing games or applying for a job there.

But I agree that some more female figures which are not distinguished by enormous tits in tiny bikini tops would be a big improvement.

PaintbrushJo Thu 04-Oct-12 08:47:27

As I understand it, they have a scaling issue; big and silly is easy, actually making real looking people at that scale is hard. I love their Sisters of Battle models, but they are exagerrations, no one should every expect to look like that. (Nor do I expect them too, most of those models are goblins, elves and other made up things.)

I did ask where all the female guardsmen were, and shop staffer pointed at the model (which was in bulky armour and helmet) and said "How could you tell?"

singingmum Thu 04-Oct-12 09:26:47

My son,dp and my dd are into GW they love females who play and would love to have more female players etc. Our local shop had the whole bring a cake thing but it was a general anyone rather than mums only asked. I have made 2 cakes for them and apparently now refered to as 'the patron saint of cake' which I crack up at all the time. GW are very specific about their employment criteria. You must have in depth knowledge of the game(almost to obsesivly so) be good with all ages and have the belief that it is an excellent hobby. Yes it is male dominated but not through any choice of theirs. I have no probs with their big boobed figures as its just helped my dd be ok with the fact that she's 12 and a c cup and if she's like me they will get much bigger. They(gamers) recently had a shock when an 18yr old girl came in to play as there aren't many females who play in our area and I'm not supprised. My friend who has 4 girls seriously said that its a boys hobby why would girls be interested.
I don't play as I HE and have to much info and general life stuff in my head to also add the rules although will try at some point and I do paint the figures which I enjoy doing,but even that gets laughed at by most other women as just silly and my way of connecting with the males in my family.
The real reason not so many women don't work for them or play is simple. Most adult women don't feel this is a hobby for their dd's so not so many get introduced to it so don't meet the criteria for the job.
If you really want to solve the problem then the answer is obv stop looking at this and other male dominated hobbies as for males only and give your dd's the chance as I know its done wonders for my sons confidence and ironically his math which he still hates but does for GW

Trills Thu 04-Oct-12 09:28:55

Isn't it sexist to assume that the female figurines are "for" women/girls and the male figures are "for" men/boys?

There's certainly no law about a shop offering items for sale where "only a very small percentage of the stock is aimed at them [women]"

Trills Thu 04-Oct-12 09:30:39

"I do feel quite sorry for the woman who was up most of the night baking a cake."

Either she enjoys baking nocturnal cakes or she is a mug who got conned by a but muuuuuuuuuum, everyone else will have one.

BedHog Thu 04-Oct-12 09:58:18

There is another point that nobody has mentioned. It's been a while since I went into a Games Workshop, but I used to get my Cthulhu dice there and every time I went in I was knocked back by the pungent stench of teenage BO and unwashed geek which hung in the stagnant air. It was always an immense relief to leave the shop. You get the same aroma to a lesser extent in Game and Gamestation, and some branches of HMV. There is no way I would be able to work in that kind of atmosphere - hasn't it been scientifically proved that women have a greater sense of smell?

PunkInDublic Thu 04-Oct-12 14:22:24

Disclaimer I may be bias as I have been doing this for years and am marrying a staff member. I was part of the scene long before I met him though. I love GW and know a lot of this has been said but I felt I must defend a company which has given me so much pleasure over the years.

Firstly "It's a great place for missfits though" thanks grin.

I'm hugely into this and yes Deamonettes are my chosen army. I didn't pick them because they're girls (actually they're shape shifting deamons but hey) I picked them as they are deadly and suit my gaming style.

I know a lot of the staff members as I'm married to one. [totally outing myself here], and I agree with ISNT that the staff "are in general the least sexist men I have met." I was into the hobby before I met DP and have been made to feel welcome in the hobby and have never been treated differently to any one else. It's a very non threatening environment, my old local store has a 80 year old woman who fields a mean sisters of battle army.

DP tells me there are more and more women running stores now and working in head office in various roles and that GW is very equal opportunities. I this any unbalance is due to who has applied for the role rather than how candidates are treated.

Cargirl, would love to know if you're local as we three love Bloodbowl.

With regards to the cakes, the manager of my local encouraged the players to build them themselves. I built a white scar vindicator for DS to take part in cake wars. You fight them like normal tanks and if you take a hull point you also take some cake. Don't feel sorry for me, one of my proudest geek moments <no point here, just proud of my vindicaker>

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 14:24:16

How old is this thread???? wink

ReallyTired England Thu 04-Oct-12 14:26:42

I think that they should pick the best person for the job. Ie. the person who is the most nerdy about Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. I imagine they test subject knowledge at interview...

kim147 Thu 04-Oct-12 14:34:44

A specialist shop needs to employ people with specialist knowledge. A customer needs good customer service and someone who knows what they are talking about. The best person for the job.

I would hope that's what it comes down to - when it's a customer facing role. Yes, you can learn things on the job but I would imagine GW is something you need to be into if you want to work there. DS likes popping in to look at the models.

PunkInDublic Thu 04-Oct-12 14:35:13

Darn it! Well spotted LadySybilde, the Emperor is not with us today.

kim147 Thu 04-Oct-12 14:35:21

But hmm at mothers being asked to make a cake.

LadySybildeChocolate Thu 04-Oct-12 14:37:16

I remember starting this thread...2 years ago! grin I've been on here for far too long.

ThreeEdgedSword Thu 04-Oct-12 22:39:27

The GW staff are mostly male because it's mostly males who apply, and mostly male who are qualified. As a woman who plays these games, I have never found any level of sexism in the stores, the staff at my local shop are lovely people smile. However, when applying for a position at the shop, you do have to list how long you have been playing, which armies you collect, and you must know the game well enough to teach 8 year olds how to play. It's a requirement because Games Workshop is a hobby store. And the majority of people who qualify are men who have been playing since early teens or younger. It's not sexism, it's good business sense.

LemarchandsBox Thu 04-Oct-12 22:48:44

I was all ready to wade in with my halberd.

But I cba.

Feckbox Thu 04-Oct-12 22:55:46

Yes. And Claire's Accessories do as well

mrkidd85 Sat 06-Oct-12 12:42:23

In answer to OP, yes it does.

In the same way that Claire's Accessories and Ann Summers does... wink

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