Many women play video games but very few do it professionally. Women are not playing any video games’ tournaments nor competitions. We tell you why.
While traditional sports separate men from women based on physical differences, esports offer the possibility to form mixed teams. Ironically, the number of women working in any role in esports is estimated to be about 5%, or 1 in 20, according to the Women in Games. Why does this happen? Why are esports a male territory? Is this scenario likely to change or not at all?
The debate becomes even more interesting if we consider that back in 2013 the Entertainment Software Association said, "The gender gap of gamers is almost completely bridged with 52% of gamers being men, and 48% women." This data confirms that women do play video games, but they are not playing them professionally. Why?
For the successful professional gamer and game developer Steph Harvey, stereotypes are the main reason keeping women away from esports "It's still a "boy's club" so as a woman you're automatically judged for being different." she confessed to the BBC.
However, if we look at the history of traditional sports, women have always been discriminated against. For example, women were only allowed to play the Olympics from 1900 on, and even nowadays, their prizes and salaries are lower than the prizes and salaries for the male players in the same sports and competitions.
We asked two LPE collaborators, who are also female games, their thoughts on the subject:
Are stereotypes stopping women from entering the eSports? What can be done to increase gender diversity in eSports?
Eva Viudes: "There are different factors why women represent a low percentage in esports. There are multiple opinions and reasons, but in general, there is usually a visibility problem and a toxicity in the communities, for example, even if the leagues support mixed teams, very often there are communication problems within the players of these teams. On another note, many girls feel more comfortable playing without revealing their gender, as they are afraid of receiving sexist comments. I believe education may be the way to end with these stereotypes."
Leonor: "I think to increase gender diversity we should make women more visible, maybe more female casters. Also, it is important not to sexualize women."
At LPE we promote equality and inclusion and hope to contribute to raising its level in the esports world.