What was once a male-only Hearthstone eSports competition has been opened up to women after the Internet-at-large gave organizers International eSports Federation a public spanking yesterday. The company says that it has listened and has changed its policy going forward. The organizers came under fire on Tuesday when it was revealed that the Hearthstone IeSF World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan would only be open to men.
The formerly all 'male only' divisions will now be replaced with 'open for all' divisions, but the 'female only' divisions will remain, the company said. Prior to the change, only males could play Hearthstone, Dota 2, or Ultra Street Fighter IV.
The company issued the following statement explaining the changes:
"The IeSF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions," the company said in a statement. "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."
"The IeSF Board addressed its reason for maintaining events for women, citing the importance of providing female gamers with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports – currently a male-dominated industry."
"Female gamers make up half of the world's gaming population, but only a small percentage of e-Sports competitors are women."
"The IeSF's female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events. Without efforts to improve representation, e-Sports can't achieve true gender equality."
You can read the company's full statement here.