With over 50 women competing at the 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championships, female esports is on the rise
“I think it’s amazing how the participation of women in esports and sports, in general, is growing”, Ceinwen Fisher from Wales said ahead of competing in Rocket League. “They tend to say that men are just better at everything, but I’m like: ‘we can do just as well as them’. We should all be treated fairly, no matter what gender.”
“By competing in a big event like this, we want to show other girls that they can actually pursue their dream of becoming an esports player competing on the big stage,” Fisher added.
“I feel like there’s a lot of respect for us and that has really increased over the years. Basically, we are all one big team, men and women, with the same passion for the sport.”
Malaysia’s Stephanie Lim concurs. “After all, competing is just fun”, Lim said. “It’s a good thing that the number of women competing is increasing. Gaming is a really cool thing to do.
“I think tournaments like these help increase awareness. It shows the possibilities for others. In the end, competing is about having fun, meeting friends and people from other countries.
“The esports world is a safe environment for everyone to join. The reason I started playing at first is simply my love for the game. And I like to win, too.”
Competing in DOTA 2, Lim thinks being on a full-girls team is an advantage, too. “Technically you are all on the same line, in the same boat. Hopefully, in the future, some of us will be able to compete in the Open and team up with the men, like some girls already do at these championships.
“I think that is a great start and I would love to see more girls competing in the Open in the future. Eventually, I would like to play against the best players in the world and I don’t care if that’s guys or girls.”
Australia’s Lynley-Ann Dodd, who has been active in the world of esports for several years now, believes the way people look at women in esports has changed, too.
“I think gaming has become less stigmatised”, Dodd said. “A lot of guys play games, but their girlfriends or sisters tend to watch them and then want to get involved, too. For me, it was my dad who got me involved. He played games and I watched him. I was always daddy’s girl, and he taught me to play games.”
“When I started playing DOTA 2, women were very uncommon. That changed over recent years. We are probably still trying to catch up in the competition level, we are still a bit behind. But it’s drastically growing. There is so much room for growth in the future.”
“To actually be here is just unbelievable for me”, added Dodd, who took a couple of years out of the sport to pursue her career as a nurse.
“Shift work really took me away from it, but during the Covid lockdown, I got back into gaming. I met my fiancé and met a couple of Australian players around that time. Once you get involved in the community, you just want to stay. You make lifelong friends and connections.”
During the lockdown, Dodd decided to give her career as a competitor another go. “My work is very supportive, they gave me leave without a question. My boss knew right away that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.
Dodd did confirm the road to Birmingham hadn’t been easy, however. “It’s sleepless nights sometimes,” she laughed. “It’s hard with the shift work I do. Even if you’d be working 9-5, you are exhausted after work.
“A lot of the girls on our team are in healthcare and hours are unfriendly for that. Often it means we finish work, eat dinner and then we’ve got from 7-11 pm to play. Our social lives suffer for it, but everyone is supportive.”
“It shows that people are supporting women in esports nowadays. We’ve got heaps of people watching and following us, showing respect. That makes it even cooler to be here.”