Assembly responds to the gender controversy
A conversation is going on in various media about the gender divide in International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) tournaments. Two IeSF tournaments will be held at ASSEMBLY Summer 2014: StarCraft II and Hearthstone. The Finnish qualifiers are organized by Finnish eSports Federation (FeSF), and the international finals will be held in Baku, Azerbaidjan.
The international IeSF Hearthstone final in Baku does not include a female competition, and therefore Finnish female players can not qualify for it. Because the tournament has, however, been requested by Finnish professional players, it was important to hold the qualifiers here for the first time.
The IeSF StarCraft II final includes competitions for men and for women, and the men's qualifier will be held at Assembly Summer 2014. The location of the women's national qualifier is still unclear, but it is probable that FeSF will also send a Finnish female player to the international finals.
Even though we partially understand IeSF's stance behind separate series for men and women, we think that separating the genders is not the right way to advance electronic sports. The other tournaments held at Assembly are not separated by gender, and they are open for all (both gaming tournaments and computer art competitions). We have worked with FeSF and other Nordic electronic sports federations, trying to induce change in this IeSF rule.
It is important that the topic is being discussed. We will also re-examine our stance on the IeSF qualifiers in the future, and we hope that IeSF will change their rules to facilitate gaming regardless of gender. FeSF, an IeSF member organization, will also continue their work advancing this change.
We believe that electronic sports and all other competitions in the field of computing should be about the individual's skills and creativity. Everyone should be encouraged to improve themselves, and discrimination should not be tolerated. We welcome all people to Assembly Summer 2014, regardless of their gender.
FeSF comments (English version after the Finnish version)