While the industry continues its growth, it has faced some challenges in fostering inclusivity and diversity. One such challenge has been the underrepresentation of women in competitive gaming.

However, a positive trend is on the horizon, with the rise of women-only tournaments and empowering initiatives that aim to bridge the gender gap and create a welcoming space for girls in esports.

Credit: esports charts

Recognizing the Gender Gap in Esports

The problem of not having enough women in esports is still real. This is not because girls are not good at playing games or by any non-sense inherent gender-based differences, but because for a long time, people mostly thought of games as something only guys should and would do. This made it harder for girls to get chances to be successful in competitive gaming. It's like a big wall in front of them stopping them. This wall is slowly getting broken, and girls are getting more chances and support so they can excel at esports.

Women-Only Tournaments: Fostering Inclusivity and Encouraging Participation

Women-only tournaments have emerged as a powerful tool to address the gender gap in esports. These tournaments provide a safe and supportive environment for female gamers to showcase their skills, network with like-minded individuals, and gain valuable experience in a competitive setting.

One prime example of successful women-only tournaments is ESL Impact, a circuit of women-only CSGO tournaments created for women who loved the game and wanted to be better at it. As they state on their website, “ESL Impact was made for women to unapologetically enjoy what they love the most: Counter-Strike. On the server, it's your skill that matters, not your gender.” If you’re a fan of Counter-Strike and want to discover amazing women playing at the highest levels, you can check the 2023 program of ESL Impact on their website.

For Fortnite fans, there’s eFuse’s Women of the eRena event. eFuse is a platform that connects gamers, esports enthusiasts, and industry professionals. To celebrate International Women's Day, eFuse held the highest prize pool of the year for a non-CSGO women's tournament. Sommerset and vanessuh showcased some amazing skills and emerged victorious in the tournament, which consisted of six matches. The initial three games were played without building, and the final three showcase the standard battle royale mode. The event was a huge success and is bound to be repeated next year.

And it would not be a good showcase of women-only tournaments without mentioning VCT Game Changers, a Riot initiative for creating new opportunities and visibility for women and other marginalized genders within VALORANT esports. Game Changers consist of two main initiatives: VCT Game Changers Series and VCT Game Changers Academy. VCT Game Changers Series consist of top-tier competitions taking place in various regions worldwide. VCT Game Changers Academy hosts monthly tournaments, providing the community with more opportunities to compete at a semi-professional level.

Empowering Initiatives for Women

Beyond women-only tournaments, various initiatives and programs have been established to empower girls interested in esports. These initiatives want to make the gaming community more open and diverse. They want to help girls learn, improve, and meet others who also love gaming just as much as they do.

One notable initiative is ‘Girls Who Game’ created by Dell Technologies with partners Microsoft and Intel. This program organizes workshops, webinars, and mentorship opportunities for girls, offering insights into various aspects of the gaming industry. These initiatives not only introduce girls to esports but also present career pathways beyond just being professional players.

Girls Make Games’ is a series of summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to inspire the next generation of designers, creators, and engineers.

The*gameHERs is a group run by women for women that wants to make women gamers and those who identify as femme feel heard. The*gameHERs is a big community with a vast variety of programs and opportunities destined to help girls feel recognized in the gaming world.

The Way Forward: Sustaining the Momentum

The rise of women-only tournaments and empowering initiatives is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done. Sustaining the momentum requires continued support and involvement from the gaming community, industry leaders, and fans. Let's keep the energy going!

To sum up, having tournaments just for women and good programs is a big step towards a more fair and diverse gaming world. These help girls show their skills and inspire others to join. By cheering for and helping women in esports, we make the future of the industry better for everyone.