3 SEP 2020

WOMEN WALK THE E-SPORTS WORLD AT A STEADY PACE

More and more women are entering the world of electronic sports, initially dominated by men. Clubs like Movistar Riders or Vodafone Giants are betting for women's teams, there are associations that represent them and they even have their own festival.

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Over the years, women have been gaining ground in different areas of life where men traditionally dominated. The world of e-sports is no exception, and a few years ago, the main players in this industry began to consider women as an essential part.

This is why now two important electronic sports clubs in Spain, Movistar Riders and Vodafone Giants, are made up entirely of women. "Now it is a crucial moment to help to develop 'those referents' that allow many amateur players to see that they can have a future within the competitive professional scene,"  said Fernando Piquer, CEO of Movistar Riders, in an exclusive interview with Señal News. "We were looking to be part of a project that would give visibility to the female scene, and when the opportunity arose to collaborate with the ‘League of Legends’ female team, Zombie Unicorns, it became very clear,"  he added.

In Piquer's words, having a team like Movistar Riders Blue (100% female) gives them, at a competitive level, the opportunity to develop new talent and to know that they are collaborating to strengthen the Spanish scene. "For us, at the 'technical' level, it is just one more team, since the demand and training routines are similar to that of the men's teams. However, there is no doubt that being part of a project like this also has its social component, since we not only want to achieve competitive successes but also help players to have a professional career in e-sports and not find any inconvenient for it. With this goal in mind, we created campaigns like #MyGameMyName, as we believe that a key piece to achieve the full integration of women is education to the community to avoid situations of bullying or harassment,"  the CEO of Movistar Riders explained.

●   A FESTIVAL ONLY FOR WOMEN

Girl Gamer Esports Festival is an event organized by Grow uP eSports that was born four years ago to motivate women to enter the competitive world, influence new players to do it professionally and normalize the idea that women can also participate in competitions and play at the highest level.

The Girl Gamer Esports Festival started in 2017 in Macao, China, and the best and most popular women's teams from around the world were present. In 2018, the same tournament format was continued and the second edition of the festival was held in Portugal. Given the success of these two editions, its organizers felt the need to change the competitive model of the event and took it to an open format that began with online qualifiers, followed by regional qualifiers (held in São Paulo, Madrid, Seoul and Sydney). The winners could progress and compete in the world finals, which were held this year in Dubai. "Our goal now is to increase our presence around the world, in order to allow the participation of as many teams as possible and of different nationalities,"  Joana Alves Pinto, CEO of Grow uP eSports, explained to Señal News.

●   THE CURRENT SCENARIO

Although women move with ever firmer steps in the world of e-sports, both in the roles of players and executives involved in the business, there is still a long way to go. "From Movistar Riders we believe that the integration of women is being slow but firm, and we already found at a national level how little by little this visibility is growing within e-sports,"  Piquer analysed.

“However, we believe that we are still far away from seeing a situation of equality. Video games, decades ago, formed a sector where the female presence was much smaller than it is today, which created an almost full male amateur scene. Little by little, women are claiming their space, and today the distribution of gamers is practically 50-50 by genre. Therefore, a more equal amateur base is being created, and that will then be replicated at the highest levels,”  the expert continued.

For Piquer, "we are at a key moment, where professional organizations must support these female figures who are a benchmark for a whole generation of girl gamers and who will be the stars of e-sports in the future".

Joana Alves Pinto indicated that women currently represent a large percentage of e-sports players and audience, and yet there is a large gap at a competitive level. “If we see the number of women's teams grow, and if organizations invest more in the women's segment, we are sure that, at some point, the idea of seeing women in the competitive world will be completely normal, and there will be many more mixed teams sharing the big stages of electronic sports,”  she assured.

Knowing that there still is a long way to go and that a great gap still exists between the two genres, Women in Games (WIGJ) was born. This is a non-profit organization that fights for a gaming industry, culture and community free of gender discrimination. The same happened with Women of Esports (WoE), which empowers women in the e-sports industry through mentoring and the creation of a global community.

By Romina Rodríguez

Now it is a crucial moment to help to develop 'those referents' that allow many amateur players to see that they can have a future within the competitive professional scene” Fernando Piquer CEO of Movistar Riders