The International eSports Federation has reconsidered a former policy which led to a Finnish Hearthstone tournament banning women from entering. The now revised ruling originally stated that eSports tournaments would divide competition by sex; men would compete in one batch of games and women would compete in the other. While there could be some overlap with the titles being played, men and women would still remain in separate leagues. The new ruling more or less changes this.
Following the vocal feedback regarding this issue over the past few days, the IeSF has restructured their two event categories. Instead of having male and female divisions, the IeSF will now offer both a “Open for All” and a “Women Only” division. Events that had previously been open only to men will simply be opened to both genders from now on. The female division will remain the same.
The decision to keep a separate women’s league operational may seem odd at first, but the decision fits well with the IeSF’s policies. When the male/female division controversy first came up, the IeSF stated that the separate competitions were in place partly to help promote female players in eSports.
“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.
The new policy suits the IeSF’s objective of furthering women in eSports much better than the old one. While some people may still find issue with the idea that a female league is needed to introduce female gamers into competitive gaming, this ruling is a considerable step up from how things were before.