I’m fairly interested in issues where gender is concerned; our biases and misconceptions in particular. I’m also a father, which motivates me even further to grapple with these issues, and the last years I’ve tried as best as I can to consider this when it comes to gaming as well.
RPG systems have frequently had issues with this, and I don’t know how often I’ve read phrases like “although female adventurers are rare, those few who do exist are extraordinary and an exception to the rule”. What strikes me as odd is that, in a world with elves and dwarves, magic and dungeons filled with monsters, dimensions and devils, this one issue remains the immovable object. It’s still faux-medieval times, and thus women still have to be chained in the kitchen.
These worlds are very much our own oysters, so why wouldn’t we change something like that?
Granted, changing these things around isn’t easy. The Innkeeper is always a fat and grumpy man, the wizard in the tower is a bearded old man, the Duke rules the land, the shopkeeper is a he. I just think the fact that it “has always been that way” is as poor an excuse as the fact that these games emulate medieval times.
I try to make an effort when I make my own material, and I also often try to adapt the material of others when running it for my group. I’ve also, in several of my recent campaign worlds, used a major religion I choose to call the Trinity; a trio of female gods on the LN-LG-NG axis, similar to a classical christian religion but with a less patriarchal bent. It is often just as sinister; in no way do I subscribe to the opinion that a world or church run by women would be gentler or more peaceful.