Gender inequality within esports has been an issue from the very start of the esports boom. A recent report by the Associated Press revealed that women still face huge inequality in the industry with around 90% of esports scholarships being offered to male students.
That under-representation is mirrored in almost all areas of esports and while some organisations and teams, like Evil Geniuses who have recently entered the VALORANT esports scene with a mixed-gender roster, are making strides in giving women more opportunities, the lack of female players, managers, streamers and the like at every level is a cause for concern.
With that in mind, four women who have carved out a career for themselves as executives within the esports industry, are set to take part in a special poker tournament next week.
The aim of the tournament is two-fold; firstly, to raise money for a number of charitable causes, selected by the players themselves, and secondly to raise the profile and highlight the importance of fair and equal female representation in both the esports and poker industries.
Poker Powher And Alienware Arena Event
The event is a joint venture between technology giants Alienware Arena and Poker Powher, an online poker company that is led by women and devised for women to get to know the game of poker and to learn the skills to play the game to a good standard.
In addition to nurturing the players’ poker skills, the aim for Poker Powher is to give women the skills to be able to succeed in life and work in general and for them to be able to learn these skills in a safe environment, where they won’t be abused or discriminated against, ostensibly by male players.
It is a similar situation to what many esports players and fans find themselves in when playing online when they can be subject to regular abuse, misogyny, discrimination, and condescension from players, often simply because they are women.
Who Will Be Competing In The Event?
The positive side to this story is that there are now real moves afoot to ensure women are given a fair opportunity to thrive and be successful in both the online poker and esports industries. Four women, who have achieved precisely that within the esports industry will be competing in the event, that will be streamed on Team Liquid Twitch Channel.
- Nicole LaPointe Jameson – the CEO of Evil Geniuses
- Fasffy – of Team Liquid
- Heather “SapphiRe’ Garozzo – VP of Talent at Dignitas
- Brittani Johnson – G2’s Head of Talent
They will compete on March 25th a 6 pm EST in an Advanced Players Game which will be commentated on by two poker professionals, Melanie Weisner and Gillian Epp.
This will then be followed by the beginner game, which will be commentated on by former poker professional Xuan Liu alongside the poker and esports player, Alexandra “Doc’ Chauran.
Each of the players will be playing for a charitable cause close to their heart with the aim being to win as much money for their charity as possible through the event, as well as to raise the profile of gender inequality in both industries as mentioned previously.
Certainly, these initiatives, as well as the others mentioned such as including mixed-gender teams in esports and seeing more even fields in poker tournaments when it comes to the gender of competitors, are all positive strides to building a more welcoming and amenable arena for women to play poker and esports in.
And as such, that can only be for the benefit of both industries and for women in particular who for too long have been under-represented and often made to feel unwelcome in these emergent new forms of entertainment.