It just occurred to me that, for the majority of alien species in the Mass Effect series, I haven't noticed any female representation.

Species I've seen females of:

  • Human
  • Quarian
  • Rachni

And... wow, that's it. Now there are actually several species we can logically exclude from a list of those where we'd expect to see females in-game.

  • Asari
    • Mono-genderd. Though they appear female, and refer to themselves with female pronouns, I'm not quite sure whether they technically are.
  • Geth
    • Artificial life-form. If they reproduce at all, I doubt they do so sexually.
  • Krogan
    • Protected class. Females are so critical to the Krogans' survival as a species, that they're kept separate from the rest of Krogan society. I wouldn't expect to see them unless we had a mission that actually involved them as a group.

This still leaves several rather major species where I can't think of a real explanation for me not having noticed any females yet.

  • Turians
  • Elcor
  • Volus
  • Salarians
  • Drell
  • Hanar
    • Though I doubt we'd be able to tell a difference, there could be Hanar who exhibit more feminine qualities than the ones I've interacted with so for. That is, if they reproduce sexually at all.

So, am I missing something? Are there any female NPCs which are representatives of the species in that last list - interactive or not? Or, are they just as conspicuously absent from the game as I think they are?

Thanks to everyone for letting me know that I can expect to see some other female aliens throughout Mass Effect 3. One more I ran into, that I haven't seen in other answers, is Dalatrass Linron (female Salarian) who is first encountered at the war summit.

Also, as mentioned in a comment but not in any answers, there is a female Krogan who is key to the primary mission in Mass Effect 3. This ended up falling sort-of in line with my expectations regarding any possible appearance of a female Krogan - it specifically involves a sub-plot that affects the future of Krogan females as a whole.

A note about both: I'm not sure if it's because of the overall body shape of the species, or their ceremonial dress, but it's really hard to tell that either of these are female until you actually speak with them.

  • 1
    I think you missed something because we definitely do see a female Krogan in ME3. – murgatroid99 Jan 11 '13 at 17:21
  • Several of your 'missing' species are represented prominently in ME3 – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 11 '13 at 17:24
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Thanks. I'll keep an eye out for them there, then. I just started that game last night. Just made it onto the Normandy, and off the "game intro railroad". – Iszi Jan 11 '13 at 17:45

According to the Mass Effect wiki article on Turians, females do not appear in the early games due to development constraints. A female Turian does appear in the Mass Effect 3 DLC Omega.

According to the article on Elcor, female Elcor can be heard in the Citadel advertisements for Elcor Hamlet and Blasto 6: Partners In Crime.

I can find no mention of female Volus.

The second Salarian Councillor was female.

The Drell have such a small appearance in the game that it is reasonable that no females appear.

As the wiki article about Hanar says, it is unknown if the Hanar have more than one gender.

  • Not sure I'd count the Elcor as an actual appearance, but good to know. Haven't seen the second Salarian Councilor - I saved the Destiny Ascension in this playthrough. – Iszi Jan 11 '13 at 17:47
  • You don't really see many Elcor anyway. – murgatroid99 Jan 11 '13 at 17:48
  • There is a female Turian in the Mass Effect 3 DLC "Omega". – Adeese Jan 11 '13 at 22:24

It's obnoxious that so many people downvoted you because you pointed out that a good game isn't perfect.

There are virtually no female turians, thought we are told they serve in the military. There are virtually no female salarians; the writers chose to make only 10% of the salarians female, (See the codex for that figure) but we don't even see that many. Besides humans, the only other species that gets close to 50/50 representation are the quarians; they might even be more represented by women then men. Maybe that's so men don't have to worry about catching girl cooties?

We are told that there was one famous female krogen Warlord, so they are capable of fighting. With almost all the females infertile, there should be more female krogan mercs, but the writers decided not to make any.

Yes, its science fiction, and of course the hanar might have different sexes, but still all use male voice boxes.

But this was a game written by humans for humans to play. Someone seems to have informed the writers that there ought to be female main characters, but other than that, the writers seemed to have decided that this universe gets along fine with very few women, and when you look that the women they do put in, they are virtually all human or asari; that is, the kinds of females that male gamers would want to sleep with, and who would consider choosing to sleep with a male gamer.

That's not a coincidence. And sorry, but that does say something about American culture, and gaming culture, when there are virtually no women in the game who are sexually unavailable or undesirable to a male gamer or his avatar.

  • Is there an in-game citation for only 10% of Salarians being female? Something I've forgotten? – Iszi Jan 17 '13 at 20:51

At least part of it's due to various biologies. Many species mimic biological sexual disparity either biologically or socially. You already mentioned the Krogans and Asari, so here's the Salarians:

The salarians are amphibian haplo-diploid egg-layers; unfertilized eggs produce males and fertilized eggs produce females. Once a year, a salarian female will lay a clutch of dozens of eggs. Social rules prevent all but a fraction from being fertilized. As a result, 90% of the species is male.

Some of this is due in part due to limited development it seems as well:

No female turians were seen in any of the current games until the release of the Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC. This, at least in the original Mass Effect, was because there was insufficient development time and memory budget to support two different versions of the same species.

There are also relatively very few Drell, Volus and Elcor (could you even tell if a Volus was female?) so I'd bet the absense of females is simply due to limited development resources and/or the general lack of characters seen of those species. Turians strike me as the ones we really probably should have seen females of the species somewhere (they're a council species for pete's sake).

It's probably safe to say that in a militaristic future it made more sense to focus on the males of the species, as, in general, males tend to be stronger and/or larger than females in most species and females are often "protected" as they're more important/vulnerable due to breeding. Assorted real-world species subvert that trend of course, the Asari might be a hat-tip to that.

  • About the Volus: I'd at least expect something similar to what I mentioned with the Hanar - there might be some that have more feminine voices and/or mannerisms, though we wouldn't be able to tell so well from their physical appearance through those pressure suits. – Iszi Jan 11 '13 at 17:48

There is one dead Krogan female during mordins loyalty quest. Body is covered but should count at least in mention.

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