Hearthstone has without a doubt become one of the biggest TCGs around, so its no wonder tournaments began to be organised for the game. Well turns out that an upcoming esports tournament run by the Finnish Assembly will only allow male players to enter the Hearthstone tournament. The website had a statement regarding this ridiculous restriction, reading “The participation is open only to Finnish male player”. This tournament will decide the Finnish representative in the IeSF World Championship along with the prize pool of 1,000 Euros.
When questioned about this segregation, Markus Olodyn Koskivirta( head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier) stated “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 [round of eight]) among other things.”
When IeSF was questioned why a esports event separated into male and female tournaments, they replied with the statement ” 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 sport.”
After the amount of backlash sent their way, IeSF has given a statement in which they announce that their male only tournaments will be stopped.
“On 2nd of July, 2014, the IeSF’s policy about gender division, which separates the female division and the male division, has been brought into question. The IeSF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions. Upon hearing these concerns, the IeSF convoked an emergency session of the IeSF Board to respond.
“As a result, IeSF shall have two event categories: ‘Open for All’ events and events that are reserved for women. The events which were initially set aside as the male division will now be open to all genders, and the events which were initially set as the female division will remain as they were.
“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. Without efforts to improve representation, e-Sports can’t achieve true gender equality.
“In order to apply the new policy with consistency, IeSF has added an ‘Open for All’ Tekken Tag Tournament 2 tournament, which was initially set aside for female-only competition.”
This entire controversy proves just how ridiculously broken the games industry’s idea of gender equality can be sometimes, as while male and female separation can make sense in physical sports, it most definitely does not in esports. The two are not interchangeable, regardless of what some people wish to believe, they aren’t the same and should be treated differently. Its fantastic this change came about thanks to the gaming community’s feedback, but the fact that the IeSF had this segregation system in place to begin with is troubling.