When you are playing online games, it’s doesn’t really matter what gender you are, be it a girl, a boy or even a part of LGBTQ community. What matter is, you have the ability to excel and dominate your opponents. As a matter of fact, according to a study, as of 2021, 41.5% of gamers are women. Quite high, right?
Despite the challenges faced by women in eSports, many are breaking barriers and dominating leaderboards. However, their stories often go unheard, leading to a dearth of role models for aspiring female competitors. This article intends to spotlight these unsung heroes while offering a roadmap for amplifying women’s voices and achievements in the sector. It will be a game-changer for aspiring female gamers, industry leaders, and anyone passionate about equity in eSports, demonstrating how we can all partake in shaping an industry where
Why there aren’t many Women in eSports?
We have this common misconception or belief that only men are entitled to play video games.
People believed that when man is playing, women should that charge in the house, like doing things like cleaning, cooking and other stuff, making a sandwich for the his men and other stuff, but it’s not.
One more reason is that women got often subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination online particularly through voice chat. Trash talk is a normal occurrence in the world of video gaming, even among beginners. However, the practice of engaging in game-related taunts has faced criticism due to its contribution to a culture of sexism within the gaming community. Although video game interactions typically take place under the guise of digital characters and in game names, but other players can still identify each other’s genders through their voices, screen names, and other identifiable cues.
Another main issue is that female gamers doesn’t have much support as the males does. Sponsorship and Professional support, including team brand, is really important when it come to eSports. There aren’t many coaches or managers making it too difficult to compete in a professional gaming.
The Growth of Female-Led Tournament
During the year 2022, the much awaited VALORANT Champions Tour: Game Changers Championship was held, exclusively featuring teams comprised of women and female-identifying competitors. With a substantial prize pool of $500,000, the tournament attracted some of the most renowned esports organizations globally, each eager to field their own team. Notably, it emerged as the most-watched female esports event of the year 2022, gathering attention from fans worldwide. This groundbreaking competition served as a game changer, setting the foundation for upcoming VALORANT events that would continue to showcase and celebrate women in esports.
In March 2023, Allycat founden an all-new women-only Call of Duty league. This effort gained praises from the prominent females COD players. The inaugural season of ‘The WxC’ witnessed a historic moment when the championship was secured by Kelsaroony, who had the distinction of becoming the first-ever female Call of Duty player to qualify for a Call of Duty League Challengers Elite event. The league’s establishment marked a significant step forward in promoting inclusivity and providing female players with a platform to showcase their talent in the eSports world.
Women who change the history of eSports
Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon
Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon from South Korea stands as an example of the challenges faced by female professional gamers. In 2016, she made history as the first and only female Overwatch professional gamer. Competing with the amateur Overwatch team UW Artisan in the Nexus Cup qualifying games, Geguri’s exceptional skills drew attention, but not without a problem.
Following the match, several male players from the opposing team accused her of using aim-assist tool, prompting Geguri to prove her innocence through a live demonstration. Sadly, such doubts surrounding female gamers are not uncommon. When women excel in gaming, suspicions often arise, suggesting that a man, is the one playing.
These baseless accusations stem from a sexist bias, perpetuating the notion that women are inferior to men in gaming abilities. In one of her interview, Geguri once considered using a voice modulator to mask her gender and ease playing with male players. Even when a few women manage to shatter the glass ceiling and achieve professional status, they often find themselves trapped within the limiting perception that they are only “good players for a girl.” It’s essential to recognize that what Geguri endured was not due to her exceptional gaming skills but simply because she is a woman.
Xia “Axx” Bi
World’s first female Dota 2 player to compete in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) system for a major qualifier, and Li “ViVi” Wei, the first woman to compete in the World Cyber Arena, have contributed to securing and expanding women’s space in the game community while inspiring future generations.
Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn
Hostyn’s journey to stardom kicked off in 2012 when she fearlessly entered a StarCraft II tournament and took on well-established pro players, securing a notable position among them. This initial success fueled her drive, propelling her to claim victory in an impressive seven tournaments over the next two years, earning her the revered title of “The Queen of StarCraft II.”
While she briefly dabbled in professional Dota 2, Hostyn ultimately returned to her roots in StarCraft II, joining Team Expert. Her dedication and skill paid off in 2018 when she achieved a groundbreaking feat by winning the Intel Extreme Masters tournament, making history as the first woman ever to triumph in a major StarCraft tournament. With an ever-growing list of wins under her belt, Hostyn has rightfully earned her place as one of the highest-paid female esports athletes.
Hailing from outside Korea, where the game has its strongest presence, Hostyn stands out as one of the few successful professionals in the industry. Her achievements and expertise have garnered her the label of being one of the most “accomplished” players in all of esports, even extending her prowess to include Dota 2 in more recent times. As of 2023, her participation in over 190 tournaments has earned her an impressive prize pool of over $350,000. Her relentless pursuit of excellence continues to inspire aspiring gamers worldwide, as she paves the way for greater inclusivity and recognition of female talent in the competitive gaming world.
Stephanie ‘missharvey’ Harvey
Stephanie ‘missharvey’ Harvey stands out as a trailblazing force in empowering women within the realm of Esports. Her journey in competitive video gaming started way back in 2003, and since then, she has become a highly esteemed and accomplished figure as a player, organizer, and influential personality.
From her days playing professional Counter-Strike, starting from version 1.5 to Global Offensive, she represented renowned teams like SK Ladies and UBINITED. Time and again, missharvey and her teams defied expectations, stunning Esports betting markets with their victories over well-established men’s teams. But her impact goes beyond mere achievements; she has utilized her experiences as a gamer to advocate strongly against discrimination and sexism that exist in the industry.
Addressing issues such as discrimination, harassment, and unequal pay, missharvey co-founded the online community “Missclicks” to bridge the gap in female representation within gaming. Her efforts to create a more inclusive and supportive space have been widely recognized and earned her accolades, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Esports Awards in 2021. Additionally, she was listed among the BBC’s “100 Women” and showcased her intellectual prowess by winning the third season of Canada’s Smartest Person.
missharvey’s relentless dedication to breaking barriers and promoting diversity has left an indelible mark on the Esports landscape. As she continues to inspire and lead by example, her influence on the industry’s evolution remains a driving force for positive change and greater opportunities for women in gaming.
Jorien ‘Sheever’ van der Heijden
Meet Jorien ‘Sheever’ van der Heijden, the revered ‘Queen of Dota 2,’ renowned for her expertise as a caster, presenter, and content creator within the game’s competitive circuit. However, her journey to success traces back to her early gaming days when she developed a profound love for gaming through hardcore raiding in World of Warcraft. In 2012, she ventured into the world of Dota and began her professional career.
Today, hailing from the Netherlands, Jorien has become a well-known figure in the industry, collaborating with esteemed companies like ESL and DreamLeague. Her roles have encompassed presenting tournaments spanning from the intense Major Championships to the pinnacle event, The International.
Her dedication to her craft became evident in 2017 when she faced a life-threatening diagnosis of breast cancer. Unfazed by the challenges, she bravely battled ahead, continuing to work and actively participate in events throughout her treatment journey. It is with immense relief and joy that we share that Jorien successfully triumphed over cancer, becoming cancer-free in 2019.
Jorien ‘Sheever’ van der Heijden’s story is a testament to her unwavering passion and resilience in the face of adversity. Her contributions to the Dota 2 community and her unyielding spirit have earned her a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide. As she continues to grace the competitive scene, her presence remains a source of inspiration for gamers and aspiring professionals alike.
The number of female gamers is growing rapidly with nearly half the world’s gamers now women and girls. But while there are plenty of successful female gaming influencers and personalities – few are making it in esports – the competitive side of video games. In these modern days, equality plays an important role, be it an amateur or in competitive stage. All gender have the equal previlage in playing and enjoying every game as everyone.
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