It’s a widely-held fact that women get paid less than their male counterparts, regardless of performance in the workplace. It’s just a single example of how women are treated differently than men and vice-versa. So, it’s no surprise to learn that women in eSports are also receiving less of the cut, but by margins recently unheard of.
Sasha Hostyn is a 22-year old, Canadian Starcraft II player. She holds the Guinness world record for her $144k earned all-time through eSports by a woman. While this is a tremendous achievement, it’s overshadowed by a serious problem. By contrast, the top-earning male StarCraft II player of all-time is Jang Min Chul, with a take home of around $495k. How is it that the highest earning male out-earns the top female player by roughly $351k? Sasha Hostyn has made a measly 29% of Jang Min Chul’s earnings, which isn’t even close to the supposed 78% average that women are already well accustomed to. It’s a disturbing reality women must deal with, but the solution lies within the problem.
No surprise here, but the videogame industry is male dominated. From an early age, boys will play with their video games while girls play with their Barbies. But this tradition is breaking apart. Women are getting more and more involved, consistently keeping up and surpassing the performance of the males in the industry. Therefore, women are just as deserving of 100% of the male wage, not the 29% that Sasha Hostyn has earned.
eSports is a fledgling industry just starting to come to fruition, but the problem lies where the initial investments are coming from. The NBA has notable investments with their eSports athletes and news flash, there are no women playing in the NBA. Maybe eSports can help fix the massive wage gap by incorporating a more diverse range of investors, starting with the WNBA. Women need their voices heard to overcome these hurdles, but their pleas for equal pay go unanswered in a male dominated industry that’s being further invested by males.
Although there’s an increasing number of women playing video games professionally, don’t expect to see that wage gap decrease unless there are investments by women-centered industries. While we are still a long way from ever achieving true equality across the board, every step in the right direction is crucial.