Women in eSports – Past, Present, Future

All around the world, the wave of gender equality is coming to create an equilibrium in all domains. There is still, a long way to go until we reach the desired outcome and consider equality the new normality. Until then, a continuous struggle must be carried against misconceptions.

Dota2 is famed for the abundant trolling, which only gets worse when players get a glimpse of a woman playing on the opposite team’s roster. The majority of players has the idea that any woman is a worse player than all men. The same can be seen in Dota betting, with odds being slightly adjusted when a female player participates in the game.

The examples are numerous, and they all get to show the things that are wrong with the old ways and that fundamental changes must happen.

Foul play

It’s a fact that the number of female players has leveled to even 50% of all gamers in the world. Also, an increase in female pro-players is happening, even if they’re not included in the top leagues in a large number, but things are turning. Let’s see, why did the past hold out so many restrictions for women’s access on the eSport’s stage?

First off, the culture of gaming has developed the Alpha-male mentality of most players that believe they are the only ones that “own” the necessary skills for playing games. Therefore, they look down on women trying to make a name for themselves in this field.

The second thing that cuts off their wings is the constant harassment they get during gameplay, or on their social media, be it Twitch streaming or Youtube channels. This type of continuous online abuse might get hard to deal with by many. Also, some teams have signed female players for all the wrong reasons, such as the Chinese team who was training models just so they could have good-looking team members.

The World of eSports, Starting with Dota Betting, is on the Brink of Change

These days we find that the tide is slowly turning and we see more breakthroughs when talking about women in eSports. 2018 has seen the first female Overwatch pro-player, competing at OWL. Seyeon “Geguri” has an even more inspiring story seeing how in her early career she was accused by two male players of cheating. She had to prove in a live online stream, that her perfect aim was all skills. The story turned into a debate about whether these allegations would have been made if a man presented those beyond perfect scores. However, she found the strength to overcome this, carry on and become inspirational.

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn has become the only one to win a Major Starcraft 2 event. She is also one of the highest earning women in eSports. She has impressive participation at more than 140 tournaments and is dominating the Starcraft 2 scene since 2012.

The CSGO scene is where women-players feel most welcome, with a lot of the top-earning representatives are related to this game:

  • Zainab “zAAz” Turkie
  • Julia “juliano” Kiran, the current in-game leader of Team Secret
  • Christine “potter” Chi
  • Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey, the winner of five world championships

Dota 2 toxic’s environment is trying to be countered by the development of communities, such as the Desoladies, which try to create a competitive experience, but in a supportive manner.

Fortnite is also home to a larger community of female players, with a recently created all-women’s team, by Gen. G, after signing Tinaraes and Maddiesuun. Also, they have hired famous Twitch broadcaster KittyPlays, to supervise the division of new gaming initiatives.

Looking Towards the Future with Hope in our Eyes

The future is surely bringing more all-women teams, perhaps more tournaments focused solely on female participants. Such an example is the Oceania part of ESL which recently organized CSGO Women’s Open.

However, some extra attention needs to be given to not falling from one extreme to another. Female pro-players are not to be signed in a team, only to assure the equality between men and women in the gaming community, but because their skills and gameplay entitle them to be there and play at a high level.

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