When it comes to E-sports, people think of world-famous rosters and players such as Valorant’s SEN TenZ, League of Legends’ T1 Faker, or DoTA 2’s OG N0tail. Now considered as a contemporary entertainment platform, the E-sports industry has generated over $1.08 billion of market revenue and is forecasted to grow as much as $1.62 billion in 2024 with Asia and North America accounting for the largest E-sports markets. With this, the E-sports we know and love have expanded its opportunities for different people, including women with a heightened passion for gaming and its community.
Growth of E-sports
With the continued evolution of the E-sports industry, limitless opportunities for upcoming talent have surfaced, including management, operations, sales, event planning, coaching, travel agency, social media coordination, and even a professional E-sports team chef! There is no doubt that careers in E-sports do not only include being a professional gamer but also those that not only require educational degrees and superb talent but a deep passion and enthusiasm with the scene as well. Unlike traditional sports shows, E-sports like to include their on-air talent and social media team in providing entertainment for mass audiences.
Women in E-sports
If you are an avid follower of League of Legends E-sports, you have probably heard of Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere, a Belgian TV Host and an E-sports journalist from Germany most notable for hosting the 2013, 2015, and 2019 League of Legends World Championship in U.S.A. and Europe. Being proficient in five languages and having a Master’s degree in both history and journalism, Sjokz started as a competitive Unreal Tournament ’99 player who competed in several LANs and inter-European championships. She then transitioned to freelance journalism and producing E-sports-related content, until Riot Games, creator of both League of Legends and Valorant, hired her to be the host of the European League of Legends Championship Series (LEC). Now, she expanded her territory to hosting other titles such as Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Arguably, Sjokz is arguably the best-known broadcaster in E-sports.
Serving as the bridge of the Korean E-sports scene to the Western and English-speaking fans, Kang “Ashley Kang” Ji-hye is a League of Legends interviewer and journalist that who covered the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). Ashley started out in 2018 when she quit her job as a software engineer in New Zealand and decided to move back to South Korea to cover the LCK. With English not being the Korean’s primary language, Ashley definitely helped Korean pro players connect to their non-Korean fans by creating Korizon, a YouTube channel and media website dedicated to Korean E-sports. And To top it all off, taking the huge leap of faith of quitting her stable job for doing what she loves already makes Ashley Kang a reputable E-sports journalist.
From collegiate football to Fortnite E-sports, Madison “Maddiesuun” Mann remained to be a competitive player. From her childhood in Massachusetts, U.S.A., Maddie has since been a top-level football player and dreamed of representing the United States in the Olympics. When she was a kid, her brother and father let her try the FPS game Combat Arms, and Maddie was a natural with it. She gave streaming Fortnite a shot after graduating high school, a new game that would soon join the battle royale genre craze. After picking it up and being good at it, Generation Gaming signed her to join an all-female Fortnite roster. Aside from being a competitive player, Maddiesuun enjoyed her representation as a woman in the E-sports community.
You know you’re a good player when the enemy team accuses you of cheating.
In 2016, Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon was accused of using aim assist software to continuously land her frags with extreme precision and accuracy. However, the claims were not true according to the game’s developer, and her “notoriety” granted her fame and eventually landing her a spot on the Shanghai Dragons, a team on the Overwatch League. As the only female player in the scene, she was written on Time Magazine’s 2019 list of Next Generation Leaders. With this, she continued to inspire millions of girls around the world to join the competitive gaming scene.
Women also have their own on the organizational ladder, including Team Solomid’s President Leena Xu, Evil Geniuses CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson, and FlyQuest’s’ CEO Tricia Sugita. These examples only prove that women have come as far in the E-sports industry.
The Elephant in the Room
Despite women already cementing themselves as a crucial part of the E-sports scene, several issues that lack attention are still prevalent today. According to E-sports organization Evil Geniuses’ survey, almost half of all women in gaming have experienced gender discrimination. It also applies in E-sports, with incidents such as Team Liquid Fortnite player Alixxa reported to have seen people – generally, males questioning the integrity of a tournament for the sole reason of it was all-female.
In line with this, Team Liquid Hearthstone player Slysssa got accused of “co-opping” with male gamers, telling her she’s “too good for a girl”. These are the same incidents one generation ago where girls are told that video games are for boys, and it is the same reason why fewer women are interested in E-sports generally because they fear for their safety and/or they just downright do not enjoy videogames because of the discriminations and sexist remarks they face. Normalizing these remarks in video games will teach the younger generations that these are true and the mistakes and incidents in the past will just happen all over again; unless we hold people accountable and support women who are interested in learning and playing a game. After all, they have already proven they can be superstars in the E-sports industry.
Article written by Samuel Evangelista