I get the overall sense that many people think, so long as female characters aren't like Ivy from Soul Calibur, there's real gender equality in games. That's far from the truth. I'll put it simple. There are 4 levels regarding sexism. 1 is most sexist. 4 is least sexist. If I had to take a guess, I'd say 90% of AAA games are in categories 1 or 2.
Level 1 - Sexualization
Sexualization of female characters, female stereotypes and/or an overall nasty attitude toward women
(: GTA , Heavy Rain, majority of fighting games)
Level 2 - Lack of Purpose
Women are often absent or hardly exist in the game world. When they do, they don't have much of an impact on the narrative.
: Mario and Zelda)
Level 3 - Lack of Independence
Women have deep personalities and big role in the story, but that impact is largely based on their relation to men rather than their own ambitions.
( Bioshock Infinite, and the Last of Us)
Level 4 - Equality
Women are non-sexualized, have a purpose and have interests aside from their relation to male characters.
(: Mass Effect series mostly, and Tomb Raider 2013)
I guess the same could be said about racism. Level 1: Games about Americans going to foreign countries to slaughter russians and middle-easterns. Level 2: A world of mostly white characters, with maybe 1 or 2 token deviations. And such.