Women In ESports? Don’t Be Ridiculous

For the past few years, topics on women’s rights have been very prominent. The subject by itself is pretty serious and overwhelming already, but when it comes to industries predominantly run by men, it gets even more heated. And eSports is no exception. So it’s only right we at least try and tackle the omnipresent issue of women in eSports.

If you follow some of the most popular games in esports, answer this question: when was the last time you heard about a woman in one of the prominent teams? We could go even further, when was the last time you’ve heard of a woman as part of a mixed team? We’ll help you, probably never.

What Kind Of Narrative Surrounds Women In ESports?

The only time you could have encountered stories about women in eSports, is if you intentionally looked for them, or if there happens to be some kind of a controversy around it. And that by itself is already pretty telling. Sure, the popular argument would be that women are just way less interested in playing video games, but think about it, are they so much less interested that there are literally no women among the most popular players in the most popular games? That is simply statistically impossible, if women are given the same starting position, of course.

So there isn’t much room for maneuver, really: numbers speak for themselves, whatever excuses someone might give (or keep repeating), and it’s painfully obvious that eSports community just isn’t overly welcoming towards women. Of course, there are exceptions, but those exist only so they could confirm the rule.

News About Harassment and Questionable Streamers

To a casual observer, it may seem like women are represented in the eSports news. But that is only until you dig a bit deeper and realize what is really going on: there is news stories about women speaking out about being treated unfairly, there are harassment and abuse accusations, and there are stories about unequal payments, be it as players, streamers or industry insiders.

On the lighter side, there are sporadic mentions of women streamers fighting for limelight (in more or less debatable ways, but that is not the topic here) and that’s about it. So as you can see, women in eSports are not true participants, they are the sideshow, the cheerleaders, and the occasional gender equality badge to wear when it’s convenient for it to be worn.

But let’s take a step back and have a look at the numbers. Highest paying female eSports player is Sasha Hostyn aka Scarlett, who plays Starcraft. She has earned 393 thousand dollars so far, but it’s also worth mentioning the rapid decline right after her numbers: second on the list is Liooon (Hearthstone) with 238,000 and third is Mystik (Halo: Reach) with 122,000 dollars. Top ten wraps up with Kasumi Chan (Dead or Alive 4), who has earned 55 thousand dollars so far.

Payment Discrepancy No Surprise

In comparison, first on the list of highest paid in all esports is Dota 2 and OG star N0tail who has earned almost 7 millon dollars (6,974,737 to be exact), and Matumbaman (also Dota 2 and currently Team Secret) closes top 10 with 3,7 million dollars in earnings. Just to put things into perspective a bit more: Scarlett’s earnings (as the highest paid woman) also put her on 326th place overall.

Of course, when it comes to earnings, one more disclaimer for any casual observer is obliged: the majority of the highest paid players come from Dota 2 as the game with highest prize pools overall, since there is no beating The International. And, as you might have guessed it, women are nowhere to be found in Dota (or in rare instances, you’ll hear about them hiding in support – or just hiding).

But those numbers probably won’t surprise anybody, since the narrative about women being underpaid for same jobs men do has been very present in media lately, and on top of that it’s very common in traditional sports also. So it’s safe to say it’s not just eSports, it’s the whole world and it’s surely something that needs serious improvement.

Gender Inequality Not Possible To Ignore

On the other hand, it’s a very good thing that this topic is finally being discussed.  That alone already means things are changing and gender discrimination is becoming harder and harder to ignore. Just as hopefully soon we won’t be able to ignore talented and hardworking women making waves in their respective eSports games. Also, this topic is so vast and layered that this doesn’t even scratch it and it is certainly not the last time we will be talking about it. In addition to that, it’s worth mentioning there are also leagues in the world, like Indian for instance, where girl gamers are more prominent.

Do you have a favourite female gamer? Pay attention to their position and be sure to raise your voice if you notice someone needs your help. In the meantime, don’t forget to have fun and visit our Pick6 to play the latest fixtures.