The term eSports is used to designate electronic sports and video game competitions that are played through the screen and not in the physical world.
Sports have traditionally been a man’s world. Although the role of women has improved considerably in recent years, they are still lagging regarding visibility and remuneration. Sometimes due to a lack of support and sometimes due to the physical differences between the two genders. However, a new kind of sport in which these physical differences disappear has made a strong entrance in the last few years: eSports.
A sector on the rise
In this sector, strength and speed are not the determining factors for success, but qualities such as strategic capacity and game concentration prevail. These factors favor the presence of women. The coronavirus pandemic and its effects on confinements have turned eSports into an entertainment alternative for society. In 2020, the earnings of this sector increased by 15 %.
Video game competitions such as League of Legends or FIFA are expected to keep gaining popularity in the coming years. It seems, therefore, the right time to put the spotlight on them and ask ourselves, “Is there gender equality between gamers?” Although in Spain, in particular, we are close to it, the answer is no.
Spain, at the forefront of equality
36% of Spanish eSports spectators are women (compared to 32% in Europe), and 41% of gamers are women (compared to 24% worldwide). We can, therefore, say that Spanish female gamers are in command of the eSports sector’s fight for equality.
Among the factors that allow a higher presence of female gamers is the majority presence of millennials in a sport modality unknown to previous generations, who grew up without modern video games.
Challenges remain to be faced
Millennials show more commitment to gender equality than their predecessors. However, it is not enough. Laura Muñoz, a Spanish gamer, stated in a BBVA podcast: “I don’t think everyone is committed to equality. Some many women and men have not been educated in equality.”
According to Laura Muñoz, the still existing gender inequality in the eSports world is often due to a lack of ambition among many women. “There are women who have ambition, and others who prefer not to leave their comfort zone in the competitive arena.” For that reason, Laura believes women should do their part to “destroy that barrier, train, and be among the best players.”
Laura, whose YouTube channel broadcasts her League of Legends games, is especially critical about the gender segregation of professional eSports teams – when there is no difference between them. However, she is optimistic about the future. The YouTuber advises future female gamers that “no matter how many times you stumble along the way, don’t give up.”
Laura Muñoz is an example of a woman who has succeeded in e-sports, a sector where gender inequalities are reduced and where Spain is leading the list for female presence. Although there is still a long way to go, our country can boast of having many more female gamers like Laura.
At Fellow Funders, we are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, among which gender equality is framed. Likewise, we are committed to the eSports world and recently supported the professional team Wygers in a new funding round. We believe the eSports sector can lead the way to equality for all other sports. It makes us happy to know that Spanish gamers are the ones who have “taken the lead” worldwide.