“Video games are for boys!” How many times have you heard that growing up, or around you, from children and adults alike? We believe this outdated stereotype, which comes in part from years of marketing, is behind one of the reasons for the perceived skills discrepancy between the genders when it comes to competitive gaming: because of the stigma, and the harassment and bullying that often accompanies it, girls and young women will turn theirs mics off in multiplayer online games, or will switch games to play solo instead. Hence, they have less experience and practice, making it sometimes harder to play competitively in esports and get to the top of the mountain themselves. Femme Gaming believes that by normalizing girls who game and giving access to video games to as many girls as possible, the harmful stereotypes and stigma can be fought back and true equality in esports can be achieved.
Changes through actions
The team was excited to be given an opportunity to introduce the grade 6 girls from the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (Toronto Catholic District School Board), who are part of the Royal-Tea Female Empowerment Group, to esports and video games, by partnering with the Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Last June, the group visited the Raptors Uprising Gaming Club, MLSE’s NBA 2K esports team, at their HQ. The Bell Gaming Center, located in downtown Toronto, is a brand-new facility that opened in 2022 to house the Raptors Uprising and is outfitted with states-of-the-arts gaming equipment. Not only were the girls able to play games while they were there, but they got to meet some key actors from MLSE and Femme Gaming and learn more about career opportunities in gaming and esports.
Part of MLSE’s core values is of course a desire to create winning teams and deliver championships to its city and its fans, and this passion extends into its esports programming. They also strive to find ways to support and grow the worlds of esports and gaming in Canada, in part by building strategic relationships with organizations like Femme Gaming, as Bryce Eldridge, director of esports at MLSE, explains: “We believe that gaming and esports should be a safe and inclusive space for everyone. Partnering with organizations that align with that vision is a top priority for us knowing that we have such an incredible opportunity to work together by providing access to our venues, equipment, and expertise. Video games are such a powerful tool to bring people together, and we are incredibly passionate about unlocking that power and sharing it with the world. The esports industry is still very much in its infancy stage and it is so important for us to introduce and educate students about the business. There are so many opportunities being created and it is never too early to start opening people’s minds to the possibilities.”
The girls loved it
For Royal-Tea’s founder and Our Lady of Lourdes’ vice-principal Simone Burgher, this first outing as part of the partnership was a rich and eye-opening experience for the girls and a great experiential learning opportunity: “They have never imagined space, in a growing industry such as e-sports where they could be successful. Femme Gaming and MLSE did an amazing job showcasing various career paths and additional revenue streams possible. Watching the girls during the presentation and how much fun they experienced playing games, was enough affirmation for me to know that a seed has been planted in their minds.” The girls themselves were feeling energized after their visit, and excited about the future of esports. Here are some reactions from the group’s members following their visit:
“I liked hearing about e-sport franchises and hope to see players from the WNBA featured.”
“I’m so happy Royal-Tea and Femme Gaming took us to MLSE. Girls should be able to play whatever games they want and have fun!”
“I can’t wait to go home, sign up, and start practicing.”
An exciting partnership for the future
For Femme Gaming founder Jessica Medeiros, the partnership is not only a natural part of the organization’s goals, but it’s also an essential part to play on the industry’s side: “This was an unforgettable moment for Femme Gaming: seeing the student’s faces light up while learning about the esports industry, and then get hands-on experience using the same gaming equipment as the pros. It is paramount for Femme Gaming to work with organizations like MLSE Raptors Uprising to continue to lead the way for women in esports. We are enthusiastic about this budding collaboration with Bryce and his phenomenal team as they create a positive impact in the 2K League.”
Eldridge was equally delighted to begin this collaboration with Femme Gaming: “We have admired the work that Jessica has been doing with Femme Gaming for a long time now and it was great to find a way to collaborate on something finally. We’re definitely just getting started and looking forward to seeing where we can take this partnership. With so many passionate thought leaders working together, the possibilities are endless!”
Femme Gaming is proud of the change it’s bringing with its passionate partners. If you want to have a positive impact in esports and gaming and partner with Femme Gaming, make sure to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s change the game!