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International e-Sports Federation Hearthstone Tournament Doesn’t Allow Female Players

Blizzard Entertainment

Polygon’s report on a Finnish Hearthstone Tournament allowing only male players has exposed a greater controversy; the worldwide IeSF World Championship is also only allowing male players.

Polygon’s report focuses on an e-sports tournament held by the Finnish Assembly. As reported, Finland’s tournament will not allow female participants, but the reason for this is that the winner will participate in the World Championships. Since the IeSF does not allow female players in the tournament, Finland can’t send a female winner, making female participation in the national tourney pointless. There is no female-only Hearthstone tournament this year, making it impossible for high-level women players to compete to be the best in the world at their favorite game.

The real controversy here is that the International e-Sports Federation, the global organization that advocates for e-Sports recognition and holds worldwide tournaments for numerous games, splits its tournaments by gender. The IeSF justifies the segregation by saying that female-only tournaments help promote gaming for women, who are woefully under-represented in e-Sports, and helps e-Sports more closely resemble “real” sports, nearly all of which are separated by gender.

While the IeSf’s motives don’t seem insidious, and an argument can be made that their methods make sense, many gamers say that segregation is wrong, and that men, women and any other gender by which one identifies themselves should be able to participate in a competition that doesn’t rely on physical strength, endurance or foot speed. Regardless, we shouldn’t blame Finland for playing by the established rules.

Next: Percentage of Female Devs Has Doubled

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