International e-Sports Federation Tournament Gender Segregation

The International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) 6th e-Sports World Championship is coming up in November, but it looks like they’ve made some questionable choices this year.

The IeSF has decided to split the Assemby tournament into men and women’s divisions (as they have in the past). This has caused a lot of backlash not only for its segregation of genders, but for also excluding women from playing Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft this year. This Blizzard title is open to Finnish male players only.

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Organizer Markus Koskivirta had this to say:

“In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.”

“The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”

On the IeSF Facebook page, they stated that they are taking opinions from e-Sports fans, stating:

“To all our fans and eSport enthusiasts, in the last hours we have received lots of feedback from you regarding the IeSF 6th e-Sports World Championship, particularly regarding the male/female tournament division. We want to thank you for your interest in eSports and for sharing your opinions. The eSports community opinion is always important to the IeSF. Our top priority is to promote eSports in the best ways we can. We believe that listening is important, and we’re now collecting your opinions from the social media, and we will update soon.”

An IeSF representative also responded to someone on Facebook saying, “The IeSF believes in a world where there is no discrimination against anyone,” the representative stated. “We believe that everyone from everywhere can participate in eSports, doesn’t matter where they’re from, what their gender is or what they believe in. Based on this, we will keep absorbing your feedback and other’s. We do strive to create the best e-Sports event we can, and we’ll work hard to make sure everyone can enjoy it.”

Not only are females being excluded from Hearthstone, but also Ultra Street Fighter IV and Dota 2. Both male and female players are able to compete in Starcraft II, but only female players are able to play Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is also unfair to male players.

This entire thing is absolutely ridiculous. I hope we as gamers are loud enough for the IeSF to realize that what they’re doing is sexist and wrong. None of their excuses for doing this have any logical reasoning behind them. In what way would it cause conflict if a female won in Hearthstone? This just goes to show that sexism in gaming is still very much alive and well.

If you think the IeSF is in the wrong, contact them on their Facebook page so your voice can be heard.

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