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Esports is a form of competitive gaming that offers entertainment, excitement, and engagement. The industry has gotten so big that you can even wager at esports betting sites.
An increasing number of women are also joining the business sector, occupying various positions and hierarchies, including responsibilities as broadcasters and participants.
However, the demographic composition remains insufficiently diversified, as the representation of women in professional players amounts to less than 1%, while their presence in the workforce is believed to be over 5%.
We can only hope the expertise, strategic positioning, and extensive networks in esports have the intention of actively contributing to this community and that the future trajectory of this particular industry is only heading in one direction: up!
Today’s article will explore female representation in professional esports, including an overview of this community’s challenges, progress, and prospects.
The Neglection of Women in Esports
There is a notable absence of female esports players among the highest-earning individuals inside the top 300, and a disproportionately small portion of the overall prize money is being awarded to female participants worldwide. What are the factors contributing to the underrepresentation of women in the field of esports?
Although there exists a notable presence of accomplished female gaming influencers, the representation of women at the uppermost tiers of competitive gaming remains disproportionately low. Esports events often exhibit inclusivity by allowing participation from individuals of all genders. However, it is noteworthy that the professional esports industry predominantly comprises male representation and influence. The absence of suitable role models contributes to a perception among female players that pursuing a career in esports is not a feasible choice.
In an industry characterized by its inclusive nature, where physical attributes, geographical location, and social position do not serve as discriminatory factors, the impediments to entering the professional gaming sphere are not primarily associated with females’ level of interest or aptitude. However, these concerns mostly pertain to the inadequate allocation of resources towards women’s teams and leagues, as well as the significant issue of harassment encountered by female gamers, largely perpetrated by their male counterparts.
Membership in a professional esports association has the potential to yield substantial financial gains. Esports teams are provided with certain benefits commonly associated with traditional mainstream sports. These include securing prominent sponsors and investors, receiving professional coaching and training, being offered competitive salaries, and achieving significant victories in important tournaments. Female gamers face limited access to such facilities, resulting in a noticeable wage disparity.
Women in Esports: Fixing the Challenges
Stakeholders within the esports business must prioritize the equitable inclusion of women in mixed contests, providing them with genuine opportunities to demonstrate their abilities and expertise. There is a need for a proactive approach to promoting and facilitating the inclusion and progression of women in esports.
The availability of a greater number of role models is crucial for the continued progress of women in the field of esports. In conclusion, the esports community must address any biases against women’s inclusion in competitive gaming.
Moreover, society as a whole should strive to create an environment that encourages and supports the involvement of girls and women in gaming, including in traditionally male-dominated genres such as first-person shooters.
An additional strategy to promote increased female participation in esports tournaments might involve organizing more high-profile competitions centered upon games that have demonstrated greater appeal to women. For instance, the inclusion of speedruns as a potential category in esports championships should be explored. The primary objective should be to allow women to actively engage in the flourishing field of esports while simultaneously discouraging the emergence of distinct and segregated realms labeled as “esports” and “women’s esports,” which may entail divergent economic prospects.
Despite encountering many obstacles thus far, there are encouraging indications of advancements being made in the realm of gender diversity within esports. Numerous committed groups are actively engaged in endeavors to promote equity by implementing diverse initiatives, including establishing all-female leagues and providing mentorship programs. The primary objectives of these programs are to encourage and enhance female involvement, create avenues for aspiring gamers and professionals, and cultivate a gaming atmosphere characterized by support and inclusivity.
The Female Esports Stars Making a Change
The business is undergoing a transformation characterized by the emergence of all-female leagues aimed at nurturing female talent and increased diversity demonstrated by teams. The increasing presence of women in esports has prompted a deliberate endeavor to foster gender parity.
In the realm of esports, a number of prominent female figures are actively establishing a presence for women, not only as participants in the games themselves but also in various off-screen roles such as media representation and positions of authority.
Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn
While Sasha Hostyn, renowned for her exceptional skills as a Zerg player, has earned the moniker “the Queen of Blades” about Sarah Kerrigan. Notably, Hostyn has achieved the distinction of being the first female to emerge victorious in a significant Starcraft II competition.
In 2016, she was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the female competitive video game player with the most earnings. Her prize money totaled over US$362,000, surpassing the previous record set by Katherina “Mystik” Gunn.
Scarlett, a transgender woman, has consistently refrained from engaging in discussions about gender within the context of her professional job, therefore demonstrating that such discourse is superfluous. She actively participates in the Starcraft II community and is presently engaged in competitive gaming with the team Shopify Rebellion.
Tricia “Megumixbear” Sugita
Trica Sugita, the present Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Cloud9 and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FlyQuest, started her career in esports as a host and personality affiliated with IGN.
Subsequently, she assumed the role of Director of Esports at Azubu, a prominent streaming platform. She later served as Head of Partnership at Immortals, a renowned esports organization, before ultimately securing the post of Chief Operating Officer at FlyQuest.
Tricia assumed the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Cloud9 in 2022 and then ascended to the role of Chief Operations Officer.
Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere
Eefje Depoortere has emerged as a prominent figure in the field of esports, assuming hosting duties for prestigious events such as the League of Legends World Championship and the LEC. She possesses prior involvement as a competitive participant, having participated in several regional League of Legends tournaments within her locality and even representing the Belgian national squad.
Depoortere has been consistently acknowledged as the recipient of the Best Esports Host accolade by both The Game Awards and the Esports Awards for four consecutive years commencing in 2017. This recognition attests to Depoortere’s exceptional aptitude in elevating the field of esports hosting, which is underpinned by a wealth of expertise in broadcasting, a comprehensive understanding of gaming, and a remarkable display of stage presence.
Achieving gender diversity within esports is an ongoing and continuous process. Despite notable obstacles, the sector is making commendable strides towards a future characterized by more inclusivity.
The combined efforts of female players and professionals, via various projects, educational endeavors, and noteworthy experiences, collectively influence and transform the esports industry into a more inclusive and varied scene. Through collaborative efforts, it is possible to establish a more inclusive and egalitarian atmosphere that accommodates players of both genders.