Competitive gaming, since its inception, has always been a male dominated culture. The social norm used to be that men played video games and women did not. Times have changed since this norm was first realized and women are becoming more and more involved with video games and Esports. The problem; however, is that the female footprint in Esports is currently at a standstill. Women are getting involved in Esports not only as competitors, but also as coaches, analysts, developers, managers and team owners. The issue is that Esports’ fans, consisting of a mostly male population, are constantly discouraging women from attaining positions in these roles.
I have always been a firm believer in gender equality especially in Esports because there isn’t a physical aspect that traditional sports bring forth. Unfortunately, the fact is that there is a gender split in Esports. According to SuperData Research and NewZoo, about sixty-four percent of the general gaming population are male and this percentage increases significantly when it comes to the most popular Esports titles such as League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2. On the bright side, in 2015, these two same research groups reported a fifteen to thirty percent increase in female viewership for pro gaming. This shows promise that the gender gap is starting to close as more and more people are introduced to the world of Esports. But what can we do to help the gap close even faster?
First off, we as Esports fans and enthusiasts need to start treating women that are involved in the scene with more respect and as equal to their male counterparts. According to Statista, a market research company, currently forty-one percent of gamers in the U.S. are female. This is a huge demographic that is available for the Esports market to start capitalizing on. Yet, due to discouragement and sexism, these women are dispirited from becoming involved in the scene and the growth of Esports is suffering from it. Fans, both male and female, need to step up and start changing the way the majority thinks and acts when it comes to sexism in the gaming community. Simple things can make a huge difference in this process. Whether it’s not accusing a good player of hacking just because she is a girl in a game of Counter Strike or if it is just a friendly compliment towards a female player for making a really flashy play in League of Legends, these small things will go a long way in making the gaming community a more welcoming place for women.
Now, the burden should not be left for us fans and enthusiasts to bear. There are other things that can be done by well-known individuals in the Esports scene that will definitely help open up eyes to this problem. Professional players, who are mainly male at the moment, should start to show acknowledgement towards their female counterparts. If a player is good enough at a game and shows the ability to be able to compete at the highest level of competition then it should not matter whether they are male or female. If well-known professional players advocate rising female players then they would feel more comfortable diving into the competitive scene without worry, or at least they would be able to deal with discouragement a lot easier because of the active support they would receive.
The last thing I want to talk about that will affect the rate at which this issue is dealt with is the media. In society, the media controls the majority of people. People’s views, thoughts, beliefs, and actions are all influenced by what the media tries to portray. We cannot let this happen within Esports media. It is our job to try and encourage diversity in gender and ethnicity within Esports to allow it to further grow and reach its full potential. Media coverage needs to start paying attention to this and start showing the fans and enthusiasts that there are indeed women in Esports, from the game to the management to the analyst desk, and they are indeed doing their jobs as good as, if not better, than men.
So, women are slowly becoming a large part of Esports. Let us transition to a welcoming community and in doing so, allow Esports to flourish. Because women really know how to make things flourish, don’t you think?
Written by Dylan Didiano
Edited by Williaf
Featured Image provided by Imgur