Women In Games report suggests strategies to promote gender diversity in e-sports

    
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The subject of gender imbalance in gaming, especially in professional e-sports, and how to rectify it has been a matter of debate within gaming communities for quite some time. A recent article by GamesIndustry.biz’s Haydn Taylor highlights a paper published by Women in Games that puts the spotlight on the topic, providing suggestions for ways to increase gender diversity in e-sports.

Drafted by leaders of women-in-games groups from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy as part of a discussion titled “Increasing female interest and participation in esports careers” held at the inaugural Global Esports Forum organized in conjunction with Intel and e-sport organizer ESL, the paper summarizes the current obstacles inhibiting female participation in e-sports and lays out 12 recommendations for remedying the situation.

The post on WomenInGames.org quotes five-time Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world champion Steph “missharvey” Harvey as saying she believes that the main reason the number of women in e-sports is so low — estimated at about 5% — is that women in gaming are “automatically judged for being different,” citing her own experiences of “extremely graphic” harassment about her gender. Women In Games seeks to eradicate this kind of toxic behavior and promote gender diversity in gaming and e-sports.

The paper’s recommendations for counteracting the forces repelling women from participating in e-sports are manifold, ranging from tracking and analyzing gender statistics in e-sports tournaments to “measure progress in . . . sign-ups and tournament results” to coordinating with “existing women’s groups and grassroots organisations.” Perhaps most notably, the paper suggests that organizers should “significantly increase the number of women-only tournaments and leagues” in order to expand the audience and player base as well as to provide “more opportunities for women staff behind the scenes and in forward facing roles.”

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Bruno Brito

Hey, go for it! Anything that increases diversity anywhere is a good idea.

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Robert Mann

E-sports tend to be centered around games that are notorious for trash talking cesspool behavior. Plenty of women game, but how many really want to be around the current culture that dominates e-sports.

Methinks they have the wrong focal point here, in that they are pushing for diversity but ignoring the problems with why people of diverse backgrounds avoid those games.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Have marketing posters/videos that deliberately target females by using female models? Market at places where females are most likely to frequent?

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William Gray

Before the culture war, we should notice that the article (if you click the link) says that one of the chief problems is the lack of awareness. Only 23% of females know that e-sports exist, while only 48% in the 18-24 demographic were aware. Seems like important information. If less than half of any subsection of the population didn’t know of a professional sports league existence, one wouldn’t expect heavy representation from that sector. Because, in theory, a professional sports league requires a high level of skill. It’s not easy and you can’t go pro if you don’t know about it.

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Castagere Shaikura

There is a majority of guys that just think online gaming belongs to them. If your a minority or female you don’t belong. And they act this out in chat. But in a fair world gaming should be for everyone. With single player games it is. Just not with online games.

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William Gray

There is not a “majority” of guys that think online gaming belongs to them. Toxicity always rises to the top and sometimes gets confused with popular opinion.

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Robert Mann

I believe the confusion comes from the widespread acceptance of trash talking in such games. People say things not because they believe them, but to try to gain some advantage (and because of that acceptance of that.) What it really does is just make many people decide that those games are not fun, without actually impacting most matches.

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Bruno Brito

Not really a majority. Women makes up like what, 45%/55% of the gaming community? I have to look it up.

P3lli
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P3lli

Same deal as driving , womens are not so good at games as their male counterpart. Simply they’r not gifted by nature for it. For this I think most are sceptical about a women being high high skilled , like the Korean girl that Pwned Everyone on Overwatch and still they accused her for cheating. Also, most of the time it’s hard for a women to stay on a competitive group full of dudes just due to social dynamics between guys that’s why you see female only teams. It has nothing to do with discrimination.

tl;dr: Low % of high skilled females / Hard to fit on pro teams + No one wants to do an Only Female Tournaments(–Money *See female sports)=No females at esports.
Like i said It has nothing to do with discrimination..

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mike foster

I still think (and have said this before) a huge problem is just that boys get a head start on tech and games due to childhood gifts. Boys get games, girls don’t. This builds an artificial head start for boys, whereas girls have to be old enough to articulate their interest before that sort of stuff comes their way (or have an older brother). Obviously this isn’t universal (and it’s changing with new generations of gamer parents), but I don’t think it’s a small factor.

There’s a ton of sexism, women face a lot of weird harassment, and the community (despite INSISTING otherwise) isn’t always welcoming to “others” (meaning, mostly, not-dude), but if we could get tech and games into the hands of little girls they could grow up with that passion and maybe meet the boys on a level playing field as opposed to playing catch up (and not just in games, but in all STEAM fields).

Especially in a world where the competitive peak is like…20, a few years matters.

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TomTurtle

Boys get games, girls don’t.

It’s so sad that when some children fall outside certain gender roles, some parents and others in the children’s lives will try to “self-correct” that behavior instead of embracing it. And it’s usually not done consciously either. Just the littlest thing from a parent can have an effect on a child’s outlook on the world about what is and is not acceptable.

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traja

This probably is the single biggest factor. Starting at a young age is crucial in any skill based competition if you want to be world class at it. Girls are not getting the practice in as much because of gender role expectations that parents and family members have.

cyorie
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cyorie

I feel like while the notion of “girls should’t play video games” has somewhat vanished today (and the notion that girls shouldn’t study in STEM fields is almost completely gone), we now have the notion that girls don’t play video games, and therefor any girl who does needs to have a reason for her to be somehow different from other girls.
Personally, always having to justify why I’m here gets exhausting, no matter if it’s to find a way to make more girls play, or to justify why other girls are not.

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mike foster

yah I see that a LOT

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rafael12104

Yup. I’m all for it. But I hope they learned a few lessons from Team Siren.

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Arktouros

Good watch, never heard of them!

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rafael12104

It was a quick flame out. But the lessons stand, IMO. Women can be successful in Esports. Women teams can and hopefully will compete.

BUT, success will be more dependent on skill than the hype train. Just being female isn’t enough, and it shouldn’t be. Get a group of great female players together, coach them into a team, manage them by simply moving up through the ranks just like other teams, and minimize the hype and flag waving until there is something to celebrate, and women will do well.

Team Siren was dead before it started. Not because they were female, but because the management of the team and the expectations based on their own PR (and that stupid video) left them in a no-win situation.

And it can happen again.

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Vicarious Fan

that’s where the problem is. To pay for a professional team you need money and to get money you need hype. So it’s harder to hype an all female team because people will be watching them more closely then a male team especially when you really hype them up.

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Fervor Bliss

Makes it hard to believe it is 2018.

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Strana M