International Esports Federation (IESF) announced the expansion of the women’s CS:GO tournament from four to 10 teams at the 2023 World Esports Championships Finals, taking place from August 24 to September 4 in Iași, Romania. The expansion comes after the success of the inaugural installment of the tournament at the 2022 WE Championships Finals in Bali, Indonesia.
The 2022 WE Championships was a historic moment for female gamers, as the introduction of the women’s CS:GO tournament drew large crowds and was a massive stride towards greater inclusion in esports. IESF aims to uplift and empower female gamers in all competitions, and the women’s CS:GO tournament allows for more of the world’s best all-female teams to compete at the highest level.
IESF President Vlad Marinescu said: “We are thrilled to announce the expansion of the women’s CS:GO tournament at this year’s World Esports Championships. This reflects the progress we have made in making esports more inclusive for all. We can’t wait to see what these incredible teams will bring to this year’s competition. IESF strongly believes in removing barriers to access for female gamers, and providing them with more opportunities to shine on the world’s biggest stage.”
MSSA President, and IESF past president, Colin Webster stated: “Since 2012 IESF had introduced tournaments for females – sometimes with very stiff opposition from sectors of the gaming community. For a while it was only MSSA that would submit all female teams to IESF. I, and MSSA as a whole, therefore welcomes this action by IESF and hopes that IESF will expand on the programme to have more opportunities in many more game titles”.
Webster then went on to state, ” MSSA is proud to have had fourteen (14) females officially represent South Africa as members of the Protea team at various IESF World Esports Championships. One such athlete, Gabriella Isaacs even finished second in 2012 in the StarCraft II tournament.
IESF Chief Marketing Officer Ana Karakolevska said: “I am proud of IESF for leading the charge in making esports more inclusive for all. We have made rapid progress in just a few years and IESF hopes to continue providing opportunities to promote gender equality in the World Esports Family and beyond. We can’t wait to watch 10 of the world’s best teams battle it out in fast-paced CS:GO action in Iași!”
IESF’s regional qualifiers for the WE Championships will get underway in May and June, and the top ten female CS:GO teams will secure their spots in the Finals, which will begin in August. IESF also works with several organizations, including Women in Games and Girl Gamer Esports Festival, to help foster and promote a safe and equitable environment for women in the esports industry.