Male-only Hearthstone competition opened up to females too

International eSports Federation backtracks on gender division policy

The organiser of the Hearthstone World Championship tournament has reversed its decision to ban female players.

The International eSports Federation came under fire on Tuesday when it emerged that the Hearthstone IeSF World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan would only be open to men.


The organisation has now posted a statement stating its intent to change this policy.

All 'male only' divisions will now be replaced with 'open for all' divisions, with the 'female only' divisions remaining unchanged.

"The IeSF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions," its statement read. "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."

Previously, the company had defended its gender division, saying: "The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."