The International Esports Federation (IESF) is making strides towards greater inclusivity in esports with the expansion of the women’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournament at the 2023 World Esports Championships Finals. The tournament, which drew large crowds and showcased some of the world’s best all-female teams at the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals in Bali, Indonesia, will now feature 10 teams, up from four.
The IESF is committed to empowering female gamers and removing barriers to access in all competitions. IESF President Vlad Marinescu expressed excitement for the upcoming competition, stating, “We are thrilled to announce the expansion of the women’s CS:GO tournament at this year’s World Esports Championships. This reflects the progress we have made in making esports more inclusive for all. We can’t wait to see what these incredible teams will bring to this year’s competition. IESF strongly believes in removing barriers to access for female gamers and providing them with more opportunities to shine on the world’s biggest stage.”
Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) President and former IESF President Colin Webster expressed gratitude for the IESF’s commitment to inclusivity, noting that the organisation had faced opposition in the past for introducing tournaments for women. He added that he hopes the IESF will expand its programmes to provide more opportunities for female gamers across a range of game titles.
“Since 2012, IESF had introduced tournaments for females, sometimes with very stiff opposition from sectors of the gaming community. For a while, it was only MSSA that would submit all-female teams to IESF. I, and MSSA as a whole, therefore welcomes this action by IESF and hopes that IESF will expand on the programme to have more opportunities in many more game titles.” The MSSA President stated.
Webster also proudly shared that fourteen female gamers have officially represented South Africa as members of the Protea team in various IESF World Esports Championships. Gabriella Isaacs, one of the athletes, even finished second in the StarCraft II tournament back in 2012. “MSSA is proud to have had fourteen (14) females officially represent South Africa as members of the Protea team at various IESF World Esports Championships. One such athlete, Gabriella Isaacs, even finished second in 2012 in the StarCraft II tournament.”
Ana Karakolevska, Chief Marketing Officer of IESF, expressed her pride in the organisation’s efforts towards promoting inclusivity in esports. IESF has made significant progress in recent years and is committed to continuing to provide opportunities for gender equality in the World Esports Family and beyond. With ten of the world’s best female CS:GO teams battling it out in fast-paced action in lași, Karakolevska is excited to see what the competition has in store.
“I am proud of IESF for leading the charge in making esports more inclusive for all. We have made rapid progress in just a few years, and IESF hopes to continue providing opportunities to promote gender equality in the World Esports Family and beyond. We can’t wait to watch 10 of the world’s best teams battle it out in fast-paced CS:GO action in lași!”
IESF’s regional qualifiers for the World Esports Championships will commence in May and June, and the top ten female CS:GO teams will earn their spots in the Finals, which will take place from August 24 to September 4. To promote a safe and equitable environment for women in the esports industry, IESF works with several organisations, including Women in Games and the Girl Gamer Esports Festival.