Yesterday, it was discovered that Assembly 2014, a gaming e-Sports event in Finland, had barred females from entry into a competitive Hearthstone tournament. It was not because of the will or wishes of Assembly, but due to the good-intended, but badly thought out procedures by the governing e-Sports body hosting the tournament; the International e-Sports Federation.
Today, IeSF took to their Facebook page to answer for their behaviour by announcing that the previously-male-only tournaments will now by considered “Main Tournaments” that are open to players of all genders, while the female-only tournaments that host Starcraft II and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will remain.
“Our reason for maintaining events for women only is that we acknowledge the imporance [sic] of providing women with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports, a currently male-dominated industry,” the IeSF representative stated. “Without efforts to improve female representation in e-Sports events, we can’t achieve true gender equality.
“However, we realize that hosting a ‘male-only’ competition is not the right way to go – as we stated, the industry is already male-dominated. The fact that a female-only competition is being held for the reason stated above doesn’t mean that there is a need to define the main competitions as ‘male-only’.
“Therefore, we have decided to remove ‘male-only’ competitions. This means the upcoming IeSF World Championship will host tournaments in 2 sections: an ‘open-for-all’ section which is open for all genders (replacing men-only competitions), and a female-only tournaments as stated previously.”
First off, good on IeSF to reverse their archaic layouts. When it comes to video games, especially like Hearthstone that don’t necessarily require twitch gameplay, the playing field for men and women is considerable more level than it would be in professional athletic sports, like basketball, football and hockey. Additionally, it allows a more passive and welcoming option for women just getting into the competitive scene to participate in female-only tournament, then move up into the all genders league of play once their skills improve enough.
However, it took the IeSF to receive massive backlash on social media to understand their wrongdoings in the matter. If it weren’t for the several media reports released yesterday discussing the matter, the IeSF would likely have kept business as usual going forward with this tournament, despite a concern from those in gaming in the days leading up to Assembly 2014. Thankfully, now that the issue has been dealt with, female competitors can put the past behind them and get in on the Hearthstone action.
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