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After yesterday's backlash regarding the Finnish Hearthstone qualifier for the International e-Sports Federation Hearthstone World Championship, the IeSF is now singing a different tune.
The organization has posted the following announcement on its website:
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.
IeSF also released a statement explaining that they separated the tournaments by gender in order to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sport with international sports organizations. In order to be recognized as a legitimate sport, separate men and women divisions were required. They also wanted to use the all-women teams as a way to get more women interested in competing.
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.
Of course now I'm curious if they will also offer an all-men option for the guys who maybe do not want to play with women, since women have an option to not play with men.
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