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Girl gamers sexism row: Top e-sports federation finds reverse gear

You can enter 'female' or 'all' categories – but there's no 'male' section

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The International E-Sports Federation (IESF), an organisation that promotes computer games as sport and organises tournaments around the world, has decided it will no longer operate separate contests for men and women.

Instead, the outfit has abolished its male division in favour of an “Open for All” division and a “Female” division. “Open for All” contests are open to men and women. “Female” contests are only open to women.

The organisation reached the decision after being criticised for sanctioning a men-only Hearthstone tournament. Its explanation for the change contains some interesting logic:

The IeSF Board addressed its reason for maintaining events for women, citing the importance of providing female gamers with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports—currently a male-dominated industry. Female gamers make up half of the world’s gaming population, but only a small percentage of e-Sports competitors are women.

“The IeSF’s female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events,” the statement continued. “Without efforts to improve representation, e-Sports can’t achieve true gender equality.”

It seems entirely possible to read the above as suggesting that men-only tournaments helped women, and that women-only tournaments do too. Whatever the odd subtexts, women are now welcome at any IESF events, including the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014 scheduled for November. ®

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