Did you know only 8.2% of collegiate esports players are women?
As such, Post University has the mission to support and celebrate gamers who are women in its esports program. Junior varsity Rocket League captain Rebecca Archambo is one such gamer.
“Esports for me is more than a hobby,” said Archambo. “It is a place where I feel like I belong. I really do feel like I am a part of something here at Post.”
On top of that, Archambo shared she’s learned different skills from being a captain of an esports team:
- Ensure the well-being of each player.
- Keep the team’s schedules and wishes in mind.
- Take responsibilities upon yourself to contact other school teams.
- Keep spirits high.
- Lead your team rather than boss them around.
Despite all the beneficial experiences and lessons, Archambo recognizes women may be hesitant to join an esports program in fear of it being male dominated.
“What is important to remember is that — especially here at Post — the esports coordinators are fantastic about ensuring equality and equal opportunity for both males and females, and any sort of discrimination will not be tolerated,” she said. “I have not felt any discrimination and couldn’t have felt any more welcome.”
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Jonathan Martin, the esports coordinator at Post University, noted the esports community needs to build better opportunities for women who are already playing recreationally.
“One of the best ways we can mitigate this challenge and encourage more women to join competitive play is to provide them with successful female role models,” he said. “At Post University, we have partnered with the*gameHERS, an online community dedicated to empowering gamers who are women to develop a successful mentoring program.”
Archambo also noted that terminology plays a role in esports equality. She explained she is just a gamer, not a female or a woman gamer.
“I think that adding the gender in front of the word only further drives the wedge between men and women in esports,” she said. “You wouldn’t call a male ‘a male gamer’ or ‘a man gamer.’ He’s just a gamer. I am a proud woman in esports. And I do not feel as though I need woman in front of the word to prove that. I save that for the Rocket League arena during competition.”
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Being so new, Martin said esports has an advantage over other long-running programs. Now is the time to mitigate systemic barriers to entry before they become major issues.
“We have a better chance to reach equity in our programs and provide representation,” he said. “A core tenet in building a truly successful and equitable program is to ensure faculty mirror their student body in both gender and race, but also passion for the industry. I’m proud to say Post has a diverse population of instructors in our gaming program who reflect our student body.”
Martin shared two lessons learned from coordinating an esports program:
- “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while growing our programs is we need to differentiate ourselves from ‘bandwagon schools’ by focusing on offering robust, well-designed programs that meet the needs of our esports industry. Successful programs, like ours, focus on building partnerships within the industry to provide career opportunities for their graduates and continue modifying their coursework to align with industry standards.”
- “As the esports industry begins to regulate itself and move away from its reputation as the ‘wild, wild west,’ our programs also will navigate new territory. It’s imperative my faculty and I remain in tune with these changes. For example, the industry will continue to introduce new games, policies and regulations. Our programs will need to incorporate these changes if we want to remain relevant and provide the best programming.”