Team Vitality chief executive, Nicolas Maurer, said audience education is the key to growing female participation in professional gaming.
Speaking before the Formula One Esports Pro Series final, Maurer said female representation in esports is in a terrible state and everyone involved in the esports ecosystem is challenged with creating the right structure to grow female engagement in professional gaming.
“One of the big challenges, and a very interesting area of development for esports, is the number of women being pro, which is close to zero right now, a terrible state, we have to admit,” Maurer said.
“There a lot of women playing video games, but they are not climbing because they lack role models.
“We have a culture where they don’t always feel welcome.
“We are all waiting for that to happen, but for that to happen we need again to create the right structure,” he said, when asked whether he thinks a female racer will compete in Formula One esports.
Maurer also said he believes lack of female representation in esports can be linked to a broader stigma around female participation in the professional gaming scene.
“When you see women in a mixed team, sometimes if the team is not succeeding, people will say ‘Ah, it’s because of the women,” he said.
“So there is a lot of bias, a lot of things to overcome to make sure women feel welcome in our ecosystem.
“That’s something we are working on actively.
“We need to get to the point where we have a lot of women there, 50-50,” Maurer said.
A study released earlier this year by research company, Interpret, revealed that female viewership of esports is rising, but still only sits at just over 30 per cent, with esports championships only seeing 20.3 per cent female viewership as well.
In the Interpret research, it was also identified the lack of female representation in esports can be explained partly by the types of games women tend to play, showing almost 70% of the demographic of casual mobile gamers are women.