Half of all gamers worldwide are now women. And data suggests that their number will only rise in the coming years. In the United States, women accounted for 45% of all gamers in 2021. In Asia, women make up 40 to 45% of the gaming population. While some keep it casual, studies have shown that a growing number of female gamers are looking for competition. However, women in esports remain bafflingly underrepresented. Not a single female pro gamer makes the list of the top 300 earners. Still, the tide may turn as more female figures get their foot in the door and join the conversation. Female representation on the gaming scene is also making headway fast in some parts of the world.
The rise of female role models
Male players have long dominated the esports industry. Esports tournaments were never off-limits for female players, and neither did any major league segregate between men and women. Still, a lack of representation may have prevented several women from contemplating a career in the industry. But in recent years, many talented women esports players have made a name for themselves.
Sasha Hostyn, also known as Scarlett, is one such pioneer. The Canadian pro video game player became the first woman to ever win a StarCraft II major tournament in 2012. One of the most prolific women on the competitive esports scene, Scarlett even made it to the Guinness Book of Records for the all-time highest earnings to date out of all female pro gamers. As early as 2006, Marjorie Bartell had already paved the way. Under the pseudonym Kasumi Chan, she made history as the first female player to make it to the Championship Gaming Invitational finals.
Li Xiaomeng, better known as Liooon, is another prominent advocate for girls to enter esports. The Chinese competitor proved by example that girls could “be strong pro players” in their own right, snatching a historic Hearthstone World Champion title in 2019. And several players followed in her footsteps, from fighting game aficionado Ricki Ortiz to Halo specialist Mystik. These ambitious pro gamers showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was no significant difference in performance or skills between men and women.
A gender gap that steadily narrows down
Besides gaming superstar Scarlett, only two other professional female gamers had made six figures in winnings as of 2021. But the rise of all-female teams may bring along a brighter future for women in esports. In a fitting girl power move, G2 Esports recently unveiled its very first all-female League of Legends squad. The G2 Hel team involves some of the most recognized names on the esports scene, such as Maya “Caltys” Henckel. Following the announcement, Caltys shared her hopes the endorsement of one of the biggest esports organizations across the globe would “open more opportunities for women.”
Incidentally, brands are increasingly switching their attention to female gamers for promotion. Whereas companies used to be all eyes for male gamers, brands are sponsoring more and more female players, generating both recognition and revenue. In 2019, the networking app Bubble partnered with the first-ever all-female Fortnite team. American brand Benefit Cosmetics also tapped into this promising market, releasing a series of beauty routine videos in collaboration with well-known female streamers and gamers.
And this added exposure is already paying off in certain areas of the world. In Asia, the YOY growth rate of female gamers in 2019 was more than double that of the overall population. Even in markets that are lagging behind, such as India, female pro gamers like Xyaa and Sherlock are leading the way. In addition to the growing popularity of esports, iGaming platforms are attracting many more users, despite regional restrictions. The best online casinos in India give players access to the most extensive catalog of machine slots and table games. Alongside classics like poker and blackjack, most Indian platforms include local favorites such as rummy and Teen Patti. And thanks to expert tips, players may cut through the noise to find the safest and most rewarding websites. Plus, top casinos are mobile-optimized for gamblers to have fun on the go, no matter whether they’re men or women.
Female pro gamers might be a fraction of their male counterparts, but the gaming ecosystem is moving toward more inclusivity. Successful women competitors are emerging, while female representation is becoming less stereotypical in several video games. And with more media coverage and positive role models, the future of esports might be more female than ever before.