Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, has announced that it will soon be home to the world’s first varsity all-women’s esport team. An all-women’s college, Stephens is paving the way for the future of esports and female gaming everywhere with their program being the first to fully support scholarships. The college explained in an interview with ESPN that it considered an esports team for almost a year before settling on Overwatch, chosen for it’s diverse and strong female cast.
Esports is quickly on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry, and we believe women should have the same opportunities as men to succeed in this emerging business. Stephens’ mission across all our programs has been to ensure women have a seat at any table. Getting involved in esports is part of that long-standing tradition, and aligns with our mission to promote teamwork, communication skills, as well as more interest in the science and technology fields for women.
Female esport teams and professionals already exist outside colleges, with superstars like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Zainab “ZaaZ” Turkie, currently playing on Team Secret‘s all-women‘s lineup. Also Starcraft II‘s Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn playing for Team Expert, labelled the “Iron Lady”, Scarlett is currently the highest paid female professional gamer with a total earning of $174,587.83 USD.
Not to mention 17 year old Overwatch legend Gegury, infamous female Zarya player on a mixed gender team, was considered so good that many thought she was a little “too good”. An apposing team went as far as reported her to Blizzard Korea for suspected hacking. After an investigation by Blizzard Korea and a live demonstration, Gegury was cleared of all accusations and the community found she was indeed not a hacker, but an extremely skilled player.
There is no gender advantage in professional gaming, however, due to powerful marketing strategies, females have yet to approach esports in the same fashion that males have. All-women lineups are a great stepping stone to make female gamers more comfortable in the esports scene, at least until gamer stereotypes are broken.
With institutions like Stephens College supporting the females in the gaming community, the world of esports can hopefully soon start to see many more big female names, not because they’re “good female gamers” but because they’re “good gamers”.