For the 2:30 panel, I again had to choose between the Phelps twins and the "Women in Gaming" panel; I went with the latter, and had a good time. It was a rather philosophical discussion with the panelists Clair Hoffman, Julianne Keoo, Elonka Dunin, and Mur Lafferty, as well as the audience, ruminating on how the number of female gamers has grown, but you still don't see many of them in the gaming hall. Among the common complaints: male gamers "talk down" to us, and assume we must be "taught" to play (and even when we do, it seems like they are more condescending to us than they would be to newbie male players); male gamers frequently seem to be hitting on us; we're seen as either hangers-on or an unwelcome interruption, rather than possible participants; and there are still gamers who live up to the "hygiene-challenged" stereotype. Some girls even complained that the boys wouldn't let them fight enough, thinking that they weren't into that aspect of the game. Otherwise, there was discussion on how many of us seem to prefer character-and-plot-driven games, which is why many of us turn away from having to deal with dice and prefer storytelling-style games, like what White Wolf offers. One fellow asked how they can get more girls to join in the games in the gaming hall, but frankly, I'm not sure there is a quick answer. Things are getting better, slowly, but there are a lot of preconceptions that have to still be overcome, on both sides, and I think it's going to take time for that to happen
This is sort of a blog site, but it also got picked up by Google News.
Dragon*Con 2005 - 'Women in Gaming' Panel Review