IeSF removes gender restrictions from eSports tournaments

3 Jul 2014  by   Paul Younger
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IeSF eSports

Yesterday the male-only Hearthstone tournament raised more than a few eyebrows and today the IeSF has changed their policy on gender restricted tournaments.

After the news broke there was backlash from the gaming community (listen to the podcast) and an emergency board meeting was called at the IeSF. The IeSF issued the following statement.

On 2nd of July, 2014, the IeSF’s policy about gender division, which separates the female division and the male division, has been brought into question. The IeSF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions. Upon hearing these concerns, the IeSF convoked an emergency session of the IeSF Board to respond.

As a result, IeSF shall have two event categories: “Open for All” events and events that are reserved for women. The events which were initially set aside as the male division will now be open to all genders, and the events which were initially set as the female division will remain as they were.

The IeSF Board addressed its reason for maintaining events for women, citing the importance of providing female gamers with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports—currently a male-dominated industry. Female gamers make up half of the world’s gaming population, but only a small percentage of e-Sports competitors are women. The IeSF’s female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events. Without efforts to improve representation, e-Sports can’t achieve true gender equality.   

In order to apply the new policy with consistency, IeSF has added an “Open for All” Tekken Tag Tournament 2 tournament, which was initially set aside for female-only competition. Therefore, the amended plan for the 6the-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014 is:

Open for All

DOTA 2

  – Participating teams may consist of 5 male players, 5 female players, or mixed team.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

  – Players of all genders can participate in the event.

Ultra Street Fighter 4

  – Players of all genders can participate in the event.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

  – Players of all genders can participate in the event.

TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2

  – Players of all genders can participate in the event.

Female Competition

StarCraftII: Heart of the Swarm

  – Female event is conducted separately, in parallel with “Open for All” event.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

  – Female event is conducted separately, in parallel with “Open for All” event.

Following thus announcement the Finnish Assembly Summer 2014 tournament page was updated to include:

The gender restriction rule has been removed, we thank everyone who took part in this process.

Common sense has prevailed but it’s still a little odd to still have female only tournaments listed. We know that the reasoning behind this is an attempt to promote female eSports but with the restriction removal it’s unnecessary. Still, it’s good to see they have listened and have taken immediate action.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

The IeSF is doing their best to have eSports recognised as real sport by international sporting bodies so the gender restriction was put in place to fall in line with more traditional sports. Physical differences between genders does not apply in eSports and the IeSF just went one step too far with the segregation.

Common sense has prevailed and it’s a victory for female eSports players everywhere.

We’ve been running a poll on this subject since the news broke yesterday. We still want to know your thoughts on this topic and you can add your vote now above. We’ll be posting the results at the end of the week.

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