Updated on February 28, 2:17 p.m. (GMT+8): Improved relevancy.
The esports and gaming world can be a tough industry to break into, and it can be even more daunting for a woman. In a male-dominated field, there’s a noticeably less female presence in professional gaming.
The industry is starting to change, however, with the addition of all-female leagues to develop female talent and more inclusivity from teams. As more and more women enter esports, there’s a conscious effort to move towards gender equality.
There are several leading ladies in esports who are carving out space for female representation, not just in-game, but behind the scenes, in the media, and in positions of power as well.
Here are five women that are making their mark in the esports industry and beyond, showing that gaming knows no gender.
5 admirable women in esports who are changing the game
- Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn
- Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere
- Tricia “megumixbear” Sugita
- Maria “Remilia” Creveling
- Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden
Scarlett (Starcraft II)
Earning Sarah Kerrigan’s nickname “the Queen of Blades” for her proficiency as a Zerg player, Sasha Hostyn is the first woman to win a major Starcraft II tournament.
She was also named the highest-earning female competitive video game player by the Guinness Book of Records in 2016, with more than US$362,000 to her name in prize money, a record previously held by Katherina “Mystik” Gunn.
Often the last standing Caucasian in Asian-dominated Starcraft tournaments, she was nicknamed “Korean Kryptonite” as a testament to her prowess in the game. Her win against Choi “Bomber” Ji-sung in the Red Bull Battle Grounds in New York City in 2013 was hailed by commentator Sean “Day9” Plott as one of the best professional Starcraft II matches of all time.
A transgender woman, Scarlett has never made gender a topic of discussion in her career and proved it was never needed. Still an active presence in the Starcraft II scene, she’s currently playing for Shopify Rebellion.
Sjokz (League of Legends)
Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere has become such a recognizable voice in esports, hosting the League of Legends World Championship and the LEC. She’s also had experience as a competitive player, having joined several local League of Legends competitions in her region, and even the Belgian national team.
She has a Master’s degree in history and journalism from Ghent University, and she managed to combine her love for gaming and journalism by becoming a freelance esports journalist. She became an interviewer for SK Gaming and the CyberSportsNetwork, and hosted a weekly show called Summoners Recap.
Recognized by The Game Awards and the Esports Awards as Best Esports Host for four years in a row since 2017, Depoortere has brought esports hosting to a new level, backed by broadcast experience, game knowledge, and showmanship.
Expanding her field in 2022, she hosted her first CS:GO Major in Belgium, her home country. She is also a noted CS:GO fan, calling the first-person shooter her “first love.”
Did you know she won a beauty pageant in Belgium too?
Tricia “megumixbear” Sugita (League of Legends)
Former FlyQuest CEO and current Cloud9 COO Tricia “megumixbear” Sugita got her start as an esports host and personality for IGN.
She then went on to be Director of Esports for streaming platform Azubu, and Head of Partnership for Immortals before landing the position of COO of FlyQuest.
After being promoted to FlyQuest’s CEO in January 2020, the esports organization became active in promoting environmental initiatives under her direction, like their eco-friendly gaming house called “The Greenhouse Training Facility”. They also launched a tree-planting pledge that was tied to their performance at the 2020 LCS Spring Finals, in partnership with OneTreePlanted Organization.
FlyQuest was one of the first esports organizations to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2022, Tricia joined Cloud9 as Chief Marketing Officer and was eventually promoted to Chief Operations Officer.
Remilia (League of Legends)
Maria “Remilia” Creveling was a former League of Legends pro player and streamer. She began her professional career in 2013, competing in the NA Challenger Series. She joined several Challenger-level teams and was credited as both the first woman and the first transgender to play in the NA LCS.
She would often shy away from the spotlight, especially when she became a victim of sexual harassment regarding her post-gender reassignment surgery. She did, however, thank the fans that stood by her.
“When I lose confidence in myself, they believe in me and it makes me cry. Thank you guys,” she wrote in a tweet in November 2019.
Remilia died in her sleep in 2019 at the age of 24. Remembered by loved ones and fans worldwide, she has earned her place in the history of esports and continues to be an inspiration for female-identifying gamers to this day.
Sheever (Dota 2)
Dota 2 host and personality Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden has appeared in countless Dota 2 tournaments throughout the years, and has become a frequent face at DPC Majors and The International.
Dubbed the “Queen of Dota 2”, Sheever started her casting career in 2012. In 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the life-threatening disease, she continued to attend tournaments and events.
“Between starting and ending chemo, I did go to events,” she said in an exclusive interview with ONE Esports. “Thinking back, that was crazy, but I’m a workaholic at heart.”
About two and a half years later, Sheever announced that she has won the battle and is now free from cancer.
When she’s not appearing on broadcast, she is usually playing Dota 2 or hanging out with her longtime partner and fellow talent, Owen “ODPixel” Davies.
Sheever has branched out to other games as well, including StarCraft II, CS:GO, and Valorant.