Gender Diversity in e-Sports: Addressing Challenges and Promoting Inclusivity

Gender inclusivity has come a long way in the gaming world. Strides in gaming diversity have aimed to close the gender gap by bringing awareness to women who contribute to the industry. Positive changes have indeed been made, including diverse character representation and the purposeful recruitment of women to writing and development teams. Harassment toward women gamers is no longer tolerated and, instead, punished. 

Gaming communities are more welcome to all players than ever before. However, some challenges persist in professional gaming. Explore the complexities of gender diversity in E-Sports to discover what challenges need to be addressed and how you can help promote inclusivity in the field.

Gender Inclusivity Challenges in Professional Gaming

There are some inherent hazards of participating in full-time E-Sports. Chronic pain and mental health challenges are among the most common challenges in professional gaming. Concurrently, women experience pain at higher levels and for longer durations than men — and they receive less treatment for that pain. 

Women’s mental health also comes into play, with women experiencing a higher prevalence of certain conditions like depression and anxiety. Some mental conditions are even specific to the female experience, such as postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 


While more than half of all gamers are women, there is an underrepresentation of women in E-Sports. This may be due to the physical and mental experiences listed above. It can also be due to:

  • Fewer role models; 
  • Fear of sexism;
  • Differences in gender socialization; 
  • Stereotypical representation of women as a target gaming consumer. 

While the discourse has certainly changed over the years to include female gamers, the effects of societal norms are unfortunately withstanding. After all, it makes sense for gaming companies to target the majority of their audience. However, this has a lasting impact on the perpetuation of male-dominated eSports. 

What Is E-Sports and How Does It Impact Gaming Diversity? 

ESports is a type of professional gaming that involves competitions and leagues. Professional gamers play video games for a living, similar to how professional athletes play sports for a living. 

The impact of E-Sports on the gaming industry is widespread and has made a dent in the entertainment industry. Competitions often happen in person and are live streamed on video platforms like Twitch. This creates a real sense of immediacy between fans and eSports teams. 

As of 2019, however, only 5% of E-Sports players were women. Representation in the E-Sports industry matters, because the players are so publicly revered. Lack of support, whether from fans or gaming organizations, perpetuates this disparity. It is a vicious cycle that continues with the lack of women in the sport. 

Strides Toward Gender Diversity in E-Sports

It’s within the realm of possibility to create a more equitable environment for professional female gamers. With the rise of eSports being largely due to tech advancements, this same tech can make participation more accessible to everyone. If you have fast and stable fiber internet and a computer setup that can handle gaming and streaming, you can make headway toward becoming a professional gamer. Competitive online gaming necessitates fast internet to reduce lag time and allow you to stream your game simultaneously without interruption.

Female gamers see large numbers of views on platforms like Twitch. However, the emphasis needs to be put on their gameplay rather than their appearance to truly make for a safe and equitable gaming environment. It’s a sweeping generalization to assume that every woman who plays games is worse at them than their male counterparts and only streams to show off their looks. Instead, a massive societal shift in the way female gamers are viewed needs to occur. 

As women are increasingly extending their talents to the gaming space, this incorrect ideology has been diminishing steadily. While the numbers are still off, there are improvements in the treatment of women in the space. 

To see gender inclusivity in eSports, in particular, there needs to be more support. For example, a large cosmetics brand, NYX, partnered with E-Sports company Dignitas. Also, e.l.f cosmetics created a Twitch channel that promised to operate without harassment or discrimination of any kind. This type of widespread support and innovation can lead to safer spaces for every gamer, fostering creativity and motivating gamers of all genders to participate in eSports.

Moving Forward by Fostering Diversity and Inclusion

The trajectory of gender diversity in E-Sports is on the right path. However, it can’t be overstated how much gamers of all genders need representation in the field to feel comfortable and valued. Stigmas surrounding female gamers, in particular, will have to continue being broken down by prominent players in the industry. 

Role models and support from large companies can help E-Sports take gender diversity and inclusion by storm, making for a more equitable, fair, and exciting area of entertainment.

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