Hearthstone Tournament Now Allows Girls - A Lesson on Legitimizing eSports

The boys only clubhouse got shook-up, now girls are allowed to play too.


July 1, 2014 -- The International eSports Federation said a Hearthstone tournament is a boys-only club - NO GIRLS ALLOWED! That tune has changed and so have the rules for the IeSF.


The Finnish Assembly, where the qualifier is being held, had this to say in regards to the IeSF rules “...in accordance with the IeSF tournament regulations, the main tournament event is open to male players only.”


Gender Segregated Events


Later that day the IeSF held an emergency meeting and have since changed their tune. According to Polygon, “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.”


Blizzard, the studio that created Hearthstone, reported to Polygon on the issue:

“One of our goals with eSports is to ensure that there’s a vibrant and also inclusive community around our games. We do not allow the use of our games in tournaments that do not support this, and are working with our partners to ensure they share the same goal.”

The South Korean based IeSF states their goal was to apply and obtain a SportAccord membership, which acts as an umbrella for all international sports. The IeSF spokesperson Alex Lim said “IeSF did not mean any sexism or gender discrimination, but originally tried to make the scene good for females.”

Lim continued to tell Polygon a requirement to obtaining the SportAccord membership is encouraging women to participate. Much like conventional sports, there is a Women's League and a Men's League, the IeSF were attempting to conform to those requirements.

My Thoughts

I’m a big proponent of including everyone, but this kind short-sightedness is frustrating to see. On one hand, being exclusive is counter-intuitive, I mean, it’s 2014 and with no physiological differences between the genders for eSports, the point is moot. There’s no reason NOT to include women.

On the other hand, if the rules for gaining credibility with the international sports community, it sounds like they need to fit that mold, as unfortunate as it sounds. I can understand the need to divide the two, if you want colleges and universities to start issuing grants or scholarships for eSports, the IeSF is trying to make that possible.

My personal question lies with, why. Why not just have a male-only, a women-only, and a league that melds both. There’d be some cross-over with players from different leagues, while meeting the ancient guidelines of the SportAccord membership. Then again, why can’t the SportAccord change their tune?


Featured Correspondent

I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.

Published Jul. 3rd 2014
  • Si_W
    I agree with them mixing the genders in the main league, but they compound their original error by continuing with an all-female competition.

    Do one or the other.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, the reasoning is pretty weak regarding the SportAccord.
  • RexZShadow
    The only reason real sports have split gender is coz of the physical difference between male and female bio so there is not much you can do with the fact that male are generally larger and stronger than females thus putting them together in the same sport is a bad idea. But epsport isn't a phsyical sport, SPEICALLY HEARTSTONE where its entirely a basically card game, not even like LoL or Dota where reflex and hand eye corrodination comes in to play.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I'd love to see the physiological differences between men and women with Dota or LoL, if any.
  • Spyke_3447
    Total nonsense. But highlights what I find to be an important issue, there's a post on the hearthstone forums. In it the original post he add's that since this issue has been raised in awareness there has been a turnaround on the ruling.

    He then goes on to state that he supports female only events...

    The double standards need to go before you take this seriously. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    Also you don't HAVE a gender on the internet or in most if any games, until you GIVE yourself one. And in doing so you are not entitled to anything more than anyone else is.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I think it's important to be inclusive and not segregate due the reasons given. Gender should not really be an issue with eSports.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Well that sounds like a hell of a messy way to go about this. Who looks at this setup now and thinks, "Yeah, that there's equality right there. Good job."?
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm in the boat of both being in a league. I don't understand why those are SportsAccord requirements. If no physiological difference, then it's equal.

    Some folks were worried about a man losing to a woman in an important match... Uh, what? Really?
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Agreed, I think on this particular case that co-ed teams should run as a default thing. So why should there even be a need for female-only events? How is that fairness for anyone?

    Gender should really not mean jack on the internet except as a point of view.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    Ya I'm right there with you at the end. What's so bad about splitting it into male and female leagues in order to gain credibility in international sports. I think that is imperative for the future of eSports, to be truly legitimized. If we can get that goal while keeping co-ed I'm allllll for it. If we can't though, I think the negative outweighs the positives of having co-ed. I want colleges to jump on board. I want international sports to jump on board. I want to see eSports at the Olympics one day. I want to cheer for the Dota2 Virgina Professional team. If that means separating male and female leagues, so be it.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    It's difficult for me, I see both sides, and both are understandable.

    I do think the cross-over of leagues would be another opportunity to see who's the best of the best. If that's the confines you have to work in, then yeah, do what you have to do.

    But(!) if you can still make eSports credible with both genders, then shoot for that first.
  • Kaeda Maxwell
    Nope nope nope.

    Sorry but fuck being an accepted mainstream sport is it involves confirming to such backwards standards.

    Even in regular sports the division of the sexes dates back to an era in which women and men were not considered equal.

    Why should a 21st century sport like eSports have to confirm to backwards standards of an era gone by? As a new thing eSports has a chance here to pick up and carry the torch to change the world for the better.

    I'd be deeply dissapointed and desillusioned with the sports gaming scene if we'd conform just to gain some measure of acceptence. Some things like the promottion of inequality are *NEVER* worth confroming for, not at any price.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, if there really is no reason to segregate... Don't do it.

    I can also understand wanting to conform to an umbrella as the SportAccord. Though, there's gotta be more than one way to gain that credibility to allow eSports to be legit.

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