Women account for around 30% of the esports audience, but make up a significantly smaller percentage of the competitive gaming scene. They are simply put a severely under-represented sector. Not a single female gamer made the top 100 finalists competing for Fortnite’s World Cup and the $30 million prize pool. Likewise, the top 100 earners for esports tournaments were men and made significantly more than the highest-earning females.
Addressing the imbalance
The Girl Gamer festival was first established in 2017 to address this imbalance. It is a female-only event and made significant progress in the industry since its inception.
The fourth World Finals recently occurred in Dubai. This event attracted top talent from League of Legends and CS:GO for a prize pool of $100,000. It even brought together an estimated audience of 20 million online. As the hosting nation, the United Arab Emirates could enter a team of its own. But six months before the event, no Emirati team even existed. Local organizing group Galaxy Racer Esports and the government then decided to hold trials to form “the Middle East’s first female esports team.”
As a result, the “Galaxy Racer” team was formed. This group consists of five talented gamers ranging 17 to 24 years in age. The professionals in question are: Madha Naz aka “Madi XO,” Arwa Hameed aka “Sylvari Flames,” Reem Faisal aka “Sins,” Fatima Said aka “Rose,” and Amna Raad Alameri aka “iMoki.”
Changing the trends
The team trained rigorously under the instruction of Portuguese coach Rafael “Dinep” Nunes in anticipation of Girl Gamer festival. The team has faith in their ability and the growth of esports. But they also realize the huge opportunity that exists for female professional gamers.
Said Arwa Hameed, “There is bullying online whenever they know that I am female.” This is a behavior that dominates the gaming industry. Thus it is quite difficult for women to want to even compete.
Suppressed female talent is just waiting to be unleashed, says Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer Esports. “…but female representation in esports is extremely low.”
Most tournaments are open to all genders. But women don’t tend to compete in male-dominated events due to the discrimination and harassment that tends to take place. However, Roy thinks the tide may soon turn. This comes in part through such movements like Chinese gamer VKLiooon becoming the first female winner of the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals.
All it takes is a single success for female teams to start making a difference. Once the professionals prove women can succeed, then more will come and join in on the trend.