International Women's Day: Women Representation in Esports and Gaming

Cloud9 White Roster
Cloud9 signed an all female Valorant Roster (Credit: Cloud9)

Gaming is a space dominated by men, but over the last few years, more and more women have been able to carve out their own places within this community.

Since it’s International Women’s Day we wanted to shed some light on what women deal with in gaming, but also highlight the positive steps being taken to include more and more women and create visibility within the community.

What Do Women Have to Go Through in Gaming?

Being a woman in gaming isn’t easy. Studies have shown that men are more likely to be hostile towards teammates with female voices. And well… we don’t just need studies to know that. There is more than enough video footage online of women being ridiculed and men throwing games.

Hell, even just a week ago a woman reached the number one rank in Overwatch and well... the Twitter comments under it… not all of them were positive.

One YouTuber even made a whole series with over 15 videos in which she clipped various instances of blatant sexism as well as idiotic behavior from other gamers while playing Rainbow Six Siege. It highlights the reality most women go through when playing games and why they often don’t put on voice chat.

The most tragic event in recent history came from Brazil where a 19-year-old Call of Duty Mobile player, Ingrid “SOL” Oliveira Bueno da Silva, was brutally murdered by another player. Oliveira Bueno da Silva was known for her activism to try and promote safe spaces for women in gaming.

Evil Geniuses Valorant Team
The first ever mixed Valorant Squad. (Credit: Evil Geniuses)

What Are Women Doing to Fit Into Gaming Spaces?

Women have to deal with a lot when it comes to gaming, but it has gotten better over the years, thanks to an increase in visibility and representation. There are all women Counter Strike tournaments as well as Valorant all-female tournaments and more and more female streamers making waves on Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

One of the all-female Valorant teams which won an all-female tournament got signed by one of the biggest esports organizations. MAJKL, which was a team made up of professional female gamers dominated their tournament and got the attention of Cloud9 who signed them as a second Valorant roster – Cloud9 White.

Earlier in the year, Evil Geniuses also added two female players to their Valorant roster, creating a mixed-gender team. In a tweet, CEO of Evil Genius Nicole LaPointe Jameson stated that she “[doesn’t] care where you come from. Nor your creed, gender, religion, class, past industry, or sexual orientation. If you are the best of the best, you have a home here at @EvilGeniuses”.

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Sjokz is one of the most known women in esports. (Credit: lolesports via flickr)

Valorant isn’t the only esports that has included women before. One of the most notable women in gaming was Kim “Geguri” Seyeon, a young South Korean Overwatch star who had been accused of cheating and using hacks before making her debut in the Overwatch League. She silenced those accusations by showing off her skill in an hour-long showcase, proving that she was just that good.

It isn’t just in the game that women are making strides. Also in coaching and analytical positions more and more women are being recognized. G2’s Luciana “AngelArcher” Nadrag has become a key part of their winning League of Legends team. Her analysis opposing teams has become invaluable to the team's success in recent years.

Women have also risen in broadcast. One of the most notable esports faces is Eefje “Sjokz”Depoortere: She started off as a host and interviewer for League of Legends tournaments. Her hard work and dedication led her to be part of some of the biggest esports broadcasts worldwide, sitting on the analyst desk for multiple League of Legends World Championships, even expanding to partake in broadcasts in other languages than English.

Geguri was the first professional female Overwatch player. (Credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

There are many more examples of women becoming part of the gaming community and finding their spaces. It isn’t perfect yet, not by a long shot, but the more female representation we have in esports and gaming media, the easier the entry into this field will be for future women who dream of working in gaming and esports.

So take a moment this International Women’s Day and appreciate how far we have come, but don’t become complacent and know there is still a lot to be desired in the world of gaming for women.

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