Women in esports continue to set the path for others. Women in esports were able to help create storylines and begin the journey to successful careers in an industry that’s infamously hostile to women. Riot Games recently settled a lawsuit filed against it from female employees claiming gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Individuals had been previously handed fines and suspensions, but 2019 was the first time in esports that a company was fully held responsible for its actions toward women.
It’s easy to highlight the bad in esports, but we should be focusing on the good. Women have been able to use their positions to create industry-first collaborations, like Gen.G’s partnership with Bumble that aided in the creation of the Gen.G Bumble female Fortnite team, the first all-female team in the battle royale.
Women behind the scenes, like Stephanie “Missharvey” Harvey, have been involved in the industry for over 15 years. She started her career in 2003 as a professional CS:GO athlete and has since grown to represent CLG as the org’s director of esports franchise development and outreach.
These are the type of women who have helped support the industry and are paving the way for the next wave of people interested in making esports their home.
Tina “TINARAES” Perez
TINARAES was the first player to sign to Gen.G’s Fortnite team in October 2018, which eventually rebranded to the Gen.G Bumble female Fortnite team. Almost a year later in September, she used the tools provided by Gen.G and Bumble, like the organization’s new Los Angeles facility, private chefs, and coaching, to earn $42,000 and a first-place finish at TwitchCon 2019 with her assigned teammates. There hasn’t been a Fortnite event won by a woman since TINARAES’s win.
“Being the first female to win a Fortnite LAN was a bit overwhelming but also very relieving,” TINARAES said. “Most of the time male players don’t see us as equal so now having a championship behind me helped open some eyes for not only those players but new and aspiring women who want to compete as well. Ever since [Kristen “KittyPlays” Michaela] told us to picture ourselves on stage holding the trophy and winning I’ve always had this image of what I want and will accomplish so having this image in my head come to life was absolutely incredible.”
Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li
Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li walked into the Hearthstone Global Championship at BlizzCon 2019 as the first woman to qualify for the tournament. After a commanding 3-0 victory in the final, she was crowned the winner of the Hearthstone Global Championship and claimed a nice $200,000 check.
“I want to say for all the girls out there who have a dream for esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself you should just forget your gender and go for it, “VKLiooon said during the Hearthstone Global Championship.
In 2018, Mueller founded Women of Esports to provide support and resources for women working in the industry and to others seeking opportunities. The mentorship group has over 450 members and offers several opportunities to learn from mentors from the industry, including Ryan Garfat, senior editor for ESPN Esports, Bryce Blum, founding partner of ESG Law, and Cassandra Reynoso, associate PR manager for Blizzard Entertainment. There are mentors for people interested in learning more about casting, content management, media, public relations, law, competitive players, and more.
“This has been a year of massive change for me, with a very steep learning curve,” Mueller said. “While I didn’t get as much underway as I would have liked this year, just building up the Women of Esports community to what it is today has been quite the achievem[…]
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