Creating opportunities for women in gaming

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The name Lisa Chivanga may not ring any bells, but she is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming space. With over 20 years experience as a gamer, she paving her way as a Zimbabwean gamer. Having played in several tournaments including the Comexposed Mortal Combat 2015 and Comexposed StreetFighter 2017. She is setting the pace for women in gaming locally and regionally.

She comes from a family of gamers so it’s no surprise that she has gone this far as a gamer. Their father first introduced them to gaming at a tender age. He encouraged them to make use of the Play Station 2, which he had just bought for himself. He motivated them by telling them that games were not just for boys. Lisa and her 3 sisters took that as an opportunity to go wild with everything video game-related.

Lisa, aka “TheWeirdRabbit3″ narrated how they preferred the gory games like Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty.

“Playing Mortal Kombat has been a family ritual for as long as I can remember. Everyone in the family knows how to play it. So much so that we used to have mini family gaming tournaments.”

More women involved in esports

The esports industry currently worth more than a billion dollars. So it only makes sense that women must take their share of the cake. In the last three years, there has been an increase in the number of women taking up space. Statistics show that 63% of the global mobile gamers were female.

Lisa’s family model is one that many female gamers aspire to belong to. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it has been reported that 65% of players experience harassment when playing online. It is common for female players to hear statements like “go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich!” Female players are called derogatory names and are constantly made to feel uncomfortable in the gaming space. In the offline gaming space, there are visibly less female players during gaming tournaments than their male counterparts.

So how can we mainstream female gamers?

Lisa’s experience in the gaming space allows her to identify areas which the whole industry could stand to improve.

“To overcome some of the stereotypes surrounding women in gaming, we must stop segregating genders according to their gender. A gamer is a gamer regardless of their gender. Gamers must be awarded credit and opportunities according to their capabilities.”

Support and advocacy groups, like Black Girl Gamers, play an important part in bridging these gaps. They start conversations that help to break down technical gaming concepts. By hosting regular meetups and streaming sessions, they are creating comfortable environments for female gamers.

Similarly, Africans have jumped on the bandwagon. Women in Gaming has recruited several female ambassadors around the continent, who work towards involving more women in esports. During Covid-19 pandemic, a there was a collaboration between Esports Zimbabwe and Ghana Esports Association. This brought life to the Africa Queens tournament which was an opportunity to showcase the talent of African female gamers.

We want to hear from you. Do you know any female gamers that are making strides in the esports space?

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