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 100 Women 2016: The women challenging sexism in e-sports

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Date posted: 21/11/2016

Very few women enter the world of professional gaming, and those that do often face harassment and a huge gender pay gap. On Monday the e-sports industry awards take place in London to applaud the top players in the business but not one female player has been nominated.

Competitive gaming, also known as Electronic Sports or e-sports, is growing at an incredible pace. In 2016, revenues from e-sports are predicted by professional services firm Deloitte to rise by 25% to $500m (£406m). Its regular global audience will likely top 150 million people.

Unlike in traditional sport, physical advantages in e-sports are non-existent yet the most popular games are still overwhelmingly played by men. Two of the top female gamers talk about how they are fighting discrimination and encouraging other women to play.

Steph Harvey is one of the most successful gamers in the world. She says that the number of women in e-sports is as low as 5% and the main reason is the stereotype attached to gamers.

"It's still a 'boy's club' so as a woman you're automatically judged for being different," she says.

Online abuse has been prevalent in the gaming community for years. Notably, in 2014 and 2015, it played a major role in the so-called Gamergate controversy, when people on both sides of the furore complained of harassment.

Steph has even received online rape threats in the past: "The way I get harassed is about what they would do to my body, about why I don't deserve to be there because I use my sexuality - it's all extremely graphic."

She has begun to feel despondent about the work she does for the gaming community and says she often thinks, "Why do I do this if my community hate me? Because I am a feminist, because I believe women have a place in gaming."

See the full Story via external site: www.bbc.co.uk

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