'No Girls' Hearthstone Tournament helps "Promote Female Gaming"

By Leon Hurley on at

[Update: The IeSF have now made the male only events open to all.]

The logic. It hurts.

The fun started when the International e-Sports Federation announced a gender segregated World Championship line up. When people on Facebook questioned why DotA 2, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone and Ultra Street Fighter 4 were for boys, and StarCraft 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for girls this was the answer posted:

Let me elaborate a bit on the decision to create both male and female competitions. This decision serves two main goals of the IeSF:

1 - promoting female players. We know that e-Sports is largely dominated by male players and females players are actually a portion of the overall player base. By hosting a female-only competition, we strive to promote female gaming on a global scale.

2 - International standards. IeSF is very close to get e-Sports recognized as a true sports like it should be. Part of that efforts is to comply with the international sports regulations. For example, chess is also divided into male / female leagues.

But, we want you to know that we listen to you, and appreciate your feedback! Our efforts does not clash with the community opinion - but on the contrary - we are here for the future of e-Sports and will do our best to promote it as best as we can.

The organization's argument is that by creating a woman's league it's promoting woman's gaming. The problem it created however is that because there's not a woman's category for every game an upcoming Finnish Hearthstone qualifier has been declared "only open to male players":

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Speaking to PC Gamer Markus "Olodyn" Koskivirta, the head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier made this statement:

"Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only. 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."

So this odd male/female split needs to be enforced at the qualifying stages for any of the competing games without a female devision, to prevent "possible conflicts" - something that directly contradicts the IeSF's own regulations:

Article 5 Non-discrimination and Promoting Female Participation

  1. The Practice of e-Sport is a fundamental right for all.
  2. All parties related to IeSF’s events including its Members and partners shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women, and to promote and elevate the participation of female players in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of women and men, the same rights, in particular, to participate in recreation, leisure and sports activities and all aspects of cultural life.
  3. Discrimination of any kind against lineage, gender, religion, politics, individual, organization or any reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.

I've contacted the IeSF for a comment.