Reading Douglas Cole's interview with Stacy Dellorfano, it reminded me I wanted to write about my experience with female players.
Over the years, I've had a few female gamers. Not a lot, actually, compared to male gamers, but not zero either. Just from memory, we had B~ (older sister of two of my current gamers), MC (who honored game session attendance more in the breach), a girl whose name I can't remember now (girlfriend of one of my gamers - and a good player - but I haven't needed her name in 20 years, so I forgot), J~ (wife of one of my gamers) . . . and a number of others who played once.
I played with a few female players - my cousin (whose dad basically introduced me to gaming and Tolkein) for one. My older sister played in one of my games once, and like Greg's mom in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, she had some crazy ideas of how to play . . . killing monsters for their stuff wasn't part of it. I didn't take that well and she didn't play again. Too bad, really, because she was onto something.
I've played under a female GM once, I think - a GURPS Goblins playtest at a con. It was entertaining enough, and a female gamer I met there came as a one-shot drop-in in my regular game while she was temporarily living close by for work.
But the female gamers are vastly outnumbered by the male gamers I played with. To be expected when I was younger, for sure - 4th to 6th grade is all about girls having cooties, and you don't play with them - but the ratio has pretty well kept up. As we got older and people starting dating, or got targeted for dates by girls, we started to have female players who weren't relatives.
My games depend heavily on personal recruitment. They always have - it's always been "bring your friends" not "advertise the game on a flyer." Naturally we ended up with a few girlfriends or would-be girlfriends - who played briefly and then stopped when the relationship ended. We had non-girlfriends join, too, but our most consistent one was infrequent at best - gaming was something she did when nothing else better was going on. We also ended up with one fiance-then-wife who played with us for 10 or 11 years. She was fun to have in the game - she stood a lot of the "women gamer" advice I'd gotten from women gamers on its head . . . she wanted to stab stuff, kick ass, and buy cool stuff for her character with the loot. She only stopped playing with us when the campaign ended. - and it's impractical for both her and her husband to play the same time these days. She was the most recent female gamer we had.
So as it stands right now we're an all-male group.
Now, I don't go out of my way to attract or involve female gamers. To be fair, I don't go out of my way to attract or involve male gamers, either. My game isn't female-unfriendly as much as it's stranger-unfriendly, and most of the women I know closely enough aren't interested in gaming. Yes, I've asked the ones I thought we'd want to play with. I do occasionally invite people I know closely to come game with us. The last two I asked were co-workers who found out I gamed - one man and one woman. The man lives too far away, and the woman hasn't yet taken me up on the offer. If she does she's got a Knight waiting for her - these days I keep pregens around just in case, so we don't spend play time making up PCs. But again, it was a "come try the game and see if you like it and if you mesh with the current group" invitation, and gender wasn't an issue.
It's really more of a question of, do I think you'll fit into the group? Do I think you'll like playing an imagination game with little miniature figures and whacking orcs in the head for cash? If so, gender doesn't matter, you're a potential recruit. But I don't make much of an effort to diversify the group, either. It's "gaming with my friends" at its core, and so my gamers are a subset of my group of friends . . . and these days it's an all-male subset. That may change if my co-worker ever does decide to show up at a session and give us a much-needed extra front-line fighter. Heh.