MANILA PHILIPPINES – In fields as varied as economics, politics, education, and the arts, many accomplished Filipino women have blazed new trails. Women have also continued to rise in other industries, including esports.
Despite being largely a male-dominated industry, esports opened doors for many. What was once a large-scale competition mostly for men is now open to all genders. Women in the esports industry, from broadcasters to competitors, are constantly shattering stereotypes and setting new standards.
Esports in the Philippines is a rising field
Esports isn’t a new industry. All around the world, people celebrate competitive gaming with tournaments for games such as Defense of the Ancients (DotA), League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), and Valorant. In fact, partnerships arise, like the ESL gaming collaboration with Nielsen, to further promote the esports community.
Professional gaming is a rising industry in the Philippines. Competitive gaming in the country began in the early 2000s and 2010s, but Filipino esports players have only recently been recognized for their skills. In 2017, esports received official recognition from the Philippine Games and Amusement Board (PGAB). It opened the door for professional gamers to get their own sports licenses, which meant they could compete for their country in more international competitions.
The rising popularity of mobile gaming in the country also paved the way for more men and women to participate in esports. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (ML:BB) from MOONTON Games is a widely played mobile game that features an esports tournament circuit worldwide. ML:BB tournaments are what put Filipinos on the map in mobile esports. In fact, many Filipinos in esports have been recognized in the MPL Hall of Legends for their contributions to the league.
Filipino women are changing the game in esports
As the prominence of Filipino esports players increases, other professionals in the field also keep pushing forward for the industry. Now women in esports are breaking ground for women’s participation on-screen, off-screen, and in leadership.
Mara’s hosting journey began as a courtside host. Her experience in the field made her one of the emcees for the 3×3 basketball competition at the Tokyo Summer Olympics and it was in Season 07 of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League – Philippines (MPL-PH) that she made her first foray into esports hosting, a huge career move.
Mara mentioned that having a female host adds a different vibe to the esports tournament. She adored the opportunity to bring a fresh viewpoint to the program. That it is not only men who are role models in the esports scene but that women can also be sources of inspiration, which is empowering.
With her contributions to esports, Mara revealed that many women ask her for tips on hosting and getting rid of stage fright. She stated that it empowered her to see other women inspired by her.
Mara said that she believes there is a bright future for women in esports because the industry is young and growing, as is the number of people interested in making a career out of it.
Chantelle is an MPL-PH female caster. She began working for MOONTON Games during the eighth season of the MPL-PH as a freelance female on-screen commentator.
Chantelle used to feel inferior because she did not see other women succeeding in the esports field. She shared that, as a woman in esports, she has faced challenges in the past due to the stereotyping of women.
In 2021, Chantelle defied all expectations when she joined MOONTON Games. According to her, the company paved the way for Filipino women to achieve the equality and diversity that women have long desired in the field of esports.
Pamela Maloles, an MPL PH Logistics Manager, along with co-manager Aislinn Soriaga, makes all the important production decisions. She joined MOONTON Games to oversee the MPL-PH logistics and do the groundwork required to ensure the Filipino audience enjoys uninterrupted online broadcasts of the matches.
Pam’s experience included planning and executing elaborate corporate events and concerts before she joined the company. She believes that, while the road ahead may be rocky for women in esports, the first step is always the most crucial. She believes that women can achieve success in the industry because they can handle pressure well and pay close attention to details.
Even beyond the Philippines, women are making strides in esports
Besides Filipino women in esports, other women from every corner of the globe continue to challenge the field. With their work in the industry, not only do people get lessons from the best esports players, but they also become inspired to be like them in the future.
Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere is a well-known esports commentator, having hosted the LoL Worlds and Champions. She has also competed in several regional League of Legends tournaments and represented Belgium on the international stage.
With a master’s degree in history and journalism, she became a freelance esports journalist, allowing her to combine her two passions, gaming and writing. Depoortere has elevated the standard of women in esports hosting with her combination of broadcasting expertise, game knowledge, and charisma, earning her the title of Best esports Host for the fourth year in a row since 2017.
In 2022, she held her first CS:GO Major in her native Belgium, expanding her sphere of influence.
Tricia “megumixbear” Sugita, current Chief Operating Officer at Cloud9 and formerly CEO of FlyQuest, got her start in the esports industry as an IGN host and personality.
Following her time as Immortals’ Head of Partnership and Director of esports, she joined FlyQuest as Chief Operating Officer.
In January 2020, she was promoted to CEO of FlyQuest, and under her leadership, the esports organization began actively promoting environmental initiatives, such as their eco-friendly gaming house, dubbed “The Greenhouse Training Facility.” Together with the OneTreePlanted Organization, they also unveiled a tree-planting pledge proportional to their performance in the 2020 LCS Spring Finals.
By leading Evil Geniuses to victory at Valorant Champions 2023, coach Christine ‘Potter’ Chi made history as the first female coach to ever win a major esports championship. Potter’s success as an esports coach is attributed to her unique ability to keep her players interested and motivated.
Victories like Potter’s are crucial to breaking down barriers and giving women some of the spotlight on the biggest stages in esports. And it is great that recent years have seen a concerted effort to get more women into esports.
The influence of leading ladies in esports keeps growing
Many women have contributed to the industry, but they are still underrepresented.
Yet, women’s participation in esports is an encouraging sign for the development of the industry as a whole. As more companies offer women more roles in the industry, their influence will grow in the years to come.
And once there is a more significant presence of women in esports, there is no question that gender parity will be attained in the industry.