'Hearthstone' Tournament Organizers Reverse On Male-Only Policy, Makes It Open-To-All Unisex Competition In Official Announcement

By Steve Buja , Updated Jul 03, 2014 08:07 AM EDT
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In an unsurprising turn of events, the International eSports Federation has reversed its gender discriminatory practices in quick time. Women may now compete in all of the eSports competitions, including Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, at the sixth annual tournament in Finland this August.

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The full press release can be found here. Allow us here at GameNGuide to translate. "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." Nothing gets the board members awake faster than really, really bad publicity.

"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." The IeSF realized they were being very discriminatory and changed their mind. This is something, however, that they should have done from the beginning.

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"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." I am unsure of the legality of this, because it is an international group and therefore unaffected by a domestic policy such as Title IX, which is in murky waters due to the electronic nature of the sport.

I do not believe anyone is clamoring for 'true gender equality' in this arena. What women do need and should have, no questions asked, no publicity related apologies, is just the chance to go toe to toe with anyone who is competent at the game. Video games are the great equalizer, they do not require strength to compete in and I've played, and lost, to people of every stripe, both in person and online and the thing to say after that is 'Good game.' No qualifier, no '...for a girl'. Just 'good game'.

The IeSF is now opening up the originally male only games, such as Hearthstone, to be 'open to all' for all genders.

Additionally, a genderless Tekken Tag Tournament 2 competition has been added.

I will commend the IeSF for so swiftly getting their act together, regardless of the nature of the public's complaint. This is, in a way, the best publicity the tournament could have ever asked for. Now our eyes will be trained on Finland come July and August. The whole world will be watching what happens. None of us know who will win, there may be no female competitors, they may only make it a round or two before being eliminated.

How well they do is on them, they're ultimately responsible for competing. That they were not allowed to compete in certain events is on the IeSF. True equality is letting them in not because they are women, but because they are people.

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