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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

59% of women who play video games online mask their gender to avoid harassment, according to a new study by Reach 3.

Why it matters: Women face harassment that makes simply enjoying a multiplayer video game online a fraught proposition.

  • Some women play as male characters, refrain from speaking over voice chat, disengage, or seek women-only gaming groups to avoid sexist comments and harassment.
  • "We try to hide what we are so people don't flirt with us, send us stuff or send us messages we really don't want or pictures," one respondent to the Reach 3 survey said.
  • Three quarters said they've faced gender-based discrimination, including sexual messages, patronizing comments and "men throwing or leaving a game when finding out the player is a woman."

The big picture: Gaming has historically been marketed to boys and men, explicitly or implicitly encouraging a culture in online games that is hostile to girls and women. Progress to create a more tolerant atmosphere is slow.

  • Experts say men need to call out other men, to create a climate inhospitable to harassment.
  • The games industry itself and the competitive gaming scene are dominated by men and have been slow to root out harassers and abusers. A wave of #MeToo accounts made headlines last summer.

Women play many of the same games as men.

  • 88% of women in Reach 3's survey say they play competitive games, including MOBAs, first-person shooters, fighting games and more.

Watch this viral clip from January, in which a streamer verbally dismantles a sexist male Twitch viewer as she flawlessly plays a game.

The bottom line: Chronic harassment of women and girls happens in such great numbers that many women aren't allowed to be themselves even in online spaces.

Go deeper

Meet the Black developers making your new favorite games

Image via The MIX

The Media Indie Exchange is putting Black developers at the forefront with its Black Voices in Gaming Freshman Class, an initiative to highlight developers with games coming out through 2022.

Why it matters: The game industry grapples with diversity across the board, leaving developers who are not cis-gender white men isolated or even alienated from the broader community.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 11 mins ago - Technology

Windows goes to 11

Screenshot: Axios

Microsoft on Thursday offered a first look at Windows 11, coming this holiday season. The new version changes both the look of the operating system as well as its underlying business model, as well as supporting Android apps for the first time.

Why it matters: Windows has been steadily losing market share on the desktop, which has itself lost prominence to smartphones.

Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York over false election claims

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from practicing law in the state of New York due to his false statements about the 2020 election, according to a court filing.

Driving the news: A New York court ruled that Giuliani made "demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump."