Esports should be the ultimate gender free sports zone. It is the only sport where you can have a mixed gender team. This is an exciting part of the sport. The fact that people can compete on equal ground adds a unique dimension to the growing esports gaming world. According to one article that I read, 30 percent of esports viewership and 35 percent of esports gamers are women. I love the idea that this sort allows equal opportunity: gender is not relevant to success here.
Women in esports deserve better
However, there is room for improvement. Women have been subjected to harassment and discrimination in the field. I started doing research about women in esports and ran across many of the same issues we see in other sports, as well as the real world. In the article linked above, Danielle Cohn, executive director of the tech accelerator program LIFT Labs at Comcast points out that people from any background, any height, any gender can have a great career in esports.
Yet women have been victims of online bullying, doxing (publicizing female gamers’ identities, along with their addresses and phone numbers), and rape and death threats, according to this article. #Gamergate was an incident on reddit discussed at length in that article. Another issue that the sport currently has in common with other sports is the issue of compensation. Statistics in a report from feedmagazine.tv show that the top rated men make much more than the top rated women.
Organizations for women in esports
The good news is that the sport is turning on those that exhibit this behavior and is pushing for inclusion. The mainstream stakeholders in the industry addressing this issue. There are also a few places where women players can come together for support. Global Gaming Women has a mission that states: “GGW brings together women from all segments of gaming in an effort to enrich their professional and personal lives.” Women in Games advocates for women in the industry. I especially liked anykey.org, whose motto is “welcome anybody, include everybody, play fair. They also offer a pledge:
- Be a good sport whether I win or lose
- Know that people online are real people and my words have real impact
- Set a positive example with my behavior
- Speak up against discrimination, hate speech, harassment, and abuse
- Show integrity by honoring the rules, my opponents, and my teammates
- Stop, listen, and reassess if I’m told that my words or actions are harmful
- Respect others, even if their sincere opinions are different from my own
The future is so bright
This is a growing industry and is going through some of the same social pains as the rest of the world. Women in esports deserve the same respect and opportunities as men. The good news is that there is a push to make this industry much less toxic to women. There is no reason that women cannot compete on equal terms with men. We’ve already posted our views on equality. The eSports Cave welcomes all and encourages fairness and fun for all players – while still offering a competitive environment for serious gamers. The playing field is level: let’s go have fun together!