- More and more gamers of the younger generation are female
- Reasons for there being few pro-level female gamers are many and include sexist stereotypes
- What can be done to encourage more women into the professional e-sports sphere
Recent years have seen the rapid growth of female gamers in gaming culture, with currently nearly fifty percent of gamers worldwide being women and girls. One areа of gaming, however, still has seen almost no female presence – esports.
Why Are There So Few Female Pros?
Almost half of the younger female population plays video games. But even though there is a substantial female presence in games, there seems to be absolutely none in high-level competitive gaming.
One reason this might be the case is the disparity between the types of gamers most men and women are. It seems that, in general, most hardcore gamers, who spend many hours a week and have a better chance of entering high-level competitions, are men. A lot of women, on the other hand, seem to prefer a more casual and relaxed playstyle. For example, female hardcore gamers in competitive FPS games such as Valorant, PUBG, and CS:GO represent only about 2% of the total.
Cloud9 White is an all-female team that dominates the Valorant charts. In an interview for the BBC, they shared their thoughts on females in competitive esports. They say that one of the reasons is the way other players treat women in games. It is not uncommon for women to receive sexist comments online. This creates an uncomfortable environment and generally discourages women from dedicating more time and effort to the game.
In the same interview, another pro-gamer by the name of Bette Chai said, “Most games it goes two ways. So, one is they will say, ‘Oh my god, babe, I love you this kind of weird stuff like they saw a girl in their life. Sometimes it’s like a toxic one. They’ll be like, ‘Woman, go back to the kitchen.’ So, pretty general trash talk.”
What Ways Can Be Used to Encourage More Women into the Pro-Gaming Sphere?
One idea that Formula One esports is trying to do this year is to guarantee a spot for a female gamer in high-profile tournaments.
Another idea is to separate men and women into different categories like in most traditional sports. This idea, however, is being received with mixed feelings. The girls from Cloud9 White said that this is not a great idea, stating that this will severely diminish the number of competitors they would have, which in part will damage their ability to play and train against a variety of opponents.
They instead suggested that the way to encourage more women in high-level e-sports is to give more professional support to female teams, such as better coaches, analysts, etc., similarly to what male teams have.
Whatever the case, it is evident that female gamers are a fundamental part of the gaming community as a whole and will likely play a larger role in e-gaming in the future.