This week, a user on Reddit’s Hearthstone community shared an announcement from Finland’s Hearthstone qualifier at Assembly Summer 2014 that highlighted the following:
“The participation is open only to Finnish male players.”
What might have been dismissed as a rumor has been proven to be true. This qualifier is for the IeSF (International e-Sports Federation) tournament. Apparently, the IeSF has come out and stated that the entire tournament is open to male players ONLY. The South Korea based IeSF has even noted the following on its Facebook event page:
Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV. Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2
So does this mean that Hearthstone and Ultra Street Fighter IV are men’s games, and that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is for women only?
Obviously, there has been backlash after this misogyny was revealed to the public. IeSF spoke out in defense of their actions by stating the following, “The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”
IeSF is continuing to absorb the feedback on this topic, and we can expect there will be more news coming soon. Please continue to check back here.
UPDATE: On July 3, 2014, the IeSF released a statement that, in part, reads:
On 2nd of July, 2014, the IeSF’s policy about gender division, which separates the female division and the male division, has been brought into question. 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.
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.
To read the full statement, wherein the IeSF also explains their decision to maintain women-only competition, click here.
If this story develops further, Project Fandom will be sure to cover it.