Gender and the two-tiered system of collegiate esports

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Collegiate esports in the U.S. and Canada have grown tremendously over the past decade, through intensive investments by both universities and esports publishers. Although post-secondary institutions are believed to offer more hospitable conditions for gender-inclusive esports than professional scenes, the institutionalization of collegiate esports might be transforming these conditions. Drawing from 21 interviews with leaders of both esports clubs and varsity programs in North America, this article describes a two-tiered system of collegiate esports in which opportunities for cultivating greater gender diversity are found primarily among esports clubs, student-run and often precarious. Well-funded varsity programs, by contrast, remain overwhelmingly male-dominated, a disparity held in place by efforts within these programs to recruit—rather than develop—highly skilled players.




Taylor, N., & Stout, B. (2020). Gender and the two-tiered system of collegiate esports. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 37(5), 451–465.

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