The inclusion of women and diverse gamers in Esports


Playing video games in a competitive setting has grown dramatically over the years. According to Gamelevate, the Esports industry is expected to grow by 10 per cent in the next two years. Esports Canada shows a list of 25 post-secondary schools that are actively committed within Esports Canada. Ten of these schools have varsity level teams that play competitively and Fanshawe College is one of them. While most sports have a men’s and women’s team, here at Fanshawe, women and men play on the same team for Esports. Rachel “angelgrime” Billion is a student in Fanshawe’s video game design program but also is the Esports assistant director for Fuel. She played on the Rainbow Six Siege (R6) Academy team for Fuel. She mentioned that women being included in regular league Esports is important.

“Many of our Fuel teams have included women in our regular collegiate leagues,” Billion said. “However, I think if a collegiate league occurred only for women, it would be great if Fuel got involved.”

Rachel isn’t the only Fuel player that feels this way. Marcelle “Splatt” Platt is a student in Fanshawe’s business program and is on the Valorant Academy team for Fuel. She would love to see the gaming community be more inclusive and advertise for women’s tournaments as much as they do for men.

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“I think it’s important to represent us the same and it would be nice to get the same recognition and graphics too,”Platt said.

She said that as a woman, she has faced some tough times when playing video games casually online.

“Growing up in the gaming community was not so amazing. I played Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) growing up and that was horrible back then,” she said. “But now it is so much better. Of course, you might encounter some rude people online here or there but nothing as intense as CS:GO. Thankfully the gaming community is more welcoming and friendly this time around.”

Marcelle does hope to see a full women’s team be put together at Fuel. Even though she won’t be coming back as a full-time student in the 2023/24 academic year, she still thinks it would be exciting for a Fuel women’s team to be able to compete.

Marie “angel” Sengupta is coming back to Fanshawe this fall for a business marketing coop program. She was also here last year in the business fundamentals program. Marie was a substitute player for the Fuel Valorant Academy team but is also passionate about having a full women’s team at Fuel.

“I know that Valorant has done a great job with including women and non-binary people in Esports through game challengers.”

“However, I would love to see more gaming companies do this too,” Sengupta said. She thinks that representation is important because this will inspire others to consider getting into gaming or try out for a collegiate Esports team.

Marie has also had some interesting encounters while growing up in the gaming community.

“I have run into countless sexist teammates, making it difficult to enjoy playing games at times,” Sengupta said.

Some of the things that have been said to her online include insults like, “Go back to the kitchen” and, “Woman moment.” She would hear these comments more as she became a higher rank in Valorant.

“That being said, I have also met some of my closest friends on Valorant so it balances out for me,” she said.

Marie has only competed for one semester in collegiate Esports and said it was great.

“I love the adrenaline I get from competing and working with a team,” she said. “I’m looking forward to competing next semester.”

As the Esports industry continues to grow, hopefully we start to see more women and diverse gamers come try out for Esport varsity teams. Fuel Esports Director Tyler Hetherington is hoping to have a female Valorant team this coming 2023/24 academic year.

“I am proud of all of the women on our Fuel teams now and we champion them and support them any way possible,” Hetherington said.