International Women's Day 2023: 5 women making waves in esports
From players, hosts, to organisation leaders, these women prove that any woman has a place in esports.
Women have long been involved in esports, but their numbers are pretty sparse compared to almost 90 per cent of the males dominating the industry.
Yet, the visibility and participation of women in esports has significantly increased in recent years. Every year, more women continue to break down barriers and step up to the challenge in the competitive gaming scene.
All-female leagues are slowly drawing more attention, like the VCT Game Changers in 2022, which according to esports charts, became last year’s most-viewed female esports tournament, with 5.4 million hours viewed.
And it’s not just the players — casters, organisation leaders, producers, and more have been working hard to pave the way for more women to have a place in the industry.
There are a lot of stellar ladies in the esports scene, and for International Women’s Day (8 March), we’re highlighting five women who have been challenging the status quo, improving esports, and making waves in esports.
Scarlett (StarCraft II)
Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn is one of the most prominent women in esports, being the top female esports pro with the highest earnings, earning a Guinness World Record in 2016, and still holding on to this record with earnings amounting to US$550,728.37.
Scarlett is a well-known name, especially in StarCraft II, where she became the first woman to win a major StarCraft tournament in 2018 against Jin Air Green Wings' Kim "sOs" Yoo, who was then the highest-earning StarCraft II player.
She even earned the moniker “Korean Kryptonite”, often being the last Western player standing in Asian-dominated StarCraft II tournaments. Although she tried other games like DOTA2, Scarlett continues to be active in Starcraft II, currently playing for Shopify Rebellion.
She was on Forbes' list of the most powerful women in international sports in 2018 and Forbes' 30 under 30 – Games category in 2022.
Sheever (Dota 2)
Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden is one of Dota 2’s most prominent faces as a host, analyst, caster, and content creator since 2011, having been present in over 60 tournaments, where she consistently improved her craft and established herself in the Dota 2 esports scene.
She appeared in major events such as The International, DreamLeague, and ESL. She also occasionally attends events like StarCraft II, CS:GO, Hearthstone, and recently, VALORANT.
In 2017, Sheever was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation, all while continuing to participate in esports events. She’s been declared cancer free since December 2019.
Maryam “Mary” Maher of G2 Gozen is one of the youngest female esports pros in VALORANT. At only 16 years old, Mary joined G2 Gozen halfway through the 2022 VCT Game Changers season.
She also came from Bahrain, in the Middle East, where there isn’t much representation in esports.
Despite having big shoes to fill, Mary stepped up, becoming one of the most consistent players that helped G2 accomplish a 3:2 reverse sweep against Shopify Rebellion to win the VCT Game Changers Championship. And as G2 were declared VCT Game Changers champions, cheers from the vast watch party back home erupted.
"To all the other Middle Eastern females, you can make it," Mary exclaimed while clutching the trophy on stage in Berlin.
Jeesun Park (League of Legends)
Jeesun Park has been a familiar face in the League of Legends esports scene for quite some time now. With the LCK (LoL Championship Korea) being one of the strongest regions, Jeesun has always been there as a Korean English translator.
And for the first time at Worlds 2022, Jeesun was both the English host and the Korean translator at the semi-final match between DRX and Gen.G, making her the first LoL esports host to do this solo.
Some people don’t know that she is also an LCK live producer, where she helped bring to life the English Analyst desk in the LCK amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She also ensured that English subtitles were available to all LCK content, making the region more accessible to the Global LoL fanbase.
Tammy Tang (FSL)
Tammy “furryfish” Tang is considered one of the trailblazers in Singapore’s esports scene. In 2004, she founded Team Asterisk*, Singapore's first all-female esports organisation that competed in DOTA2 and LoL.
Along with Kimberlyn See, she founded the Female Esports League (FSL) in 2018, Southeast Asia’s first and longest-running league specifically for female gamers. FSL organises competitive tournaments for women in titles like Dota 2, LoL, Wild Rift, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) MOBILE, and VALORANT.
FSL has also been known to coordinate with Riot Games for the VCT Game Changers in the region. The organisation aims to “empower women gamers to connect through competitive gaming”, according to FSL’s official Instagram account.
On top of this, she has been in the esports business in various roles, including team manager, captain, competitive gamer, streamer, influencer, and esports event manager. She has collaborated with brands such as Corsair, Razer, Uniqlo, and Secret Lab.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee. Views expressed are the writer's own.
For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.