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Women in Games WIGJ celebrates the winners of our inaugural esports awards

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Cordelia Chui

Congratulations to Lisa Blackman, James Banks, Riot Gaming UK and Cordelia ‘Scarakye’ Chui, the winners of our inaugural Women in Games UK Esports Awards.

These new awards have been introduced to recognise prominent and talented women in esports and also allies who understand the diversity challenges the sector faces and who are proactively engaged in supporting the development of a more equal and inclusive esports environment.

Globally the UK is “coming from behind” and these awards seek to celebrate the talent that is from or based in the UK, in order to inspire more talent to rise up and take their place on the world stage. We also seek to recognise all individuals who want to support equality, inclusion, diversity in a challenging environment.

Our first ever awards were selected from European Women in Games Conference speakers by our WIGJ esports leads and were approved by the WIGJ Board prior to the conference. They reflect our commitment to work proactively with all stakeholders in the sector to champion esports as a welcoming place for women and to drive important initiatives and changes to create a truly equal sector.

 

Streamer Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to Twitch Streamer and Charity Campaigner, Lisa Brightman, also better known by her Streaming Tag LieseinWonderland!. She became ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2015 and had to give up her career as a history teacher. After realising she could no longer teach and be active in educating the way she used to, she discovered Twitch. Initially, it was a way to make contact with other humans in a safe environment which could be managed around her symptoms, but she rapidly realised it was a platform she could use to push for positive change! She is an active collaborator with the charity M.E. Action giving 20% of her streaming revenues to the Charity, and since October 2017, she has been working to educate and fund-raise one stream at a time. She was the first Twitch streamer to stream though the Women in Games Twitch account and we are delighted that she managed to make it down to London with her partner.
Presenter Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to James Banks, a journalist, commentator, manager, and most recently a host very prominent in both the Open and Women’s Tournament CS:GO and 1v1 games circuit. In the Open tournament world, recent events include ESL One: Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the Bets.net Masters in Kiev, Ukraine and VSFighting in Birmingham.
Now there are not many Women-only tournaments but this presenter hosted the Intel Challenge for CS Go Katowice – 2018, this year’s womens tournament at the Copenhagen Games 2018 and the WESG Women’s’ Finals in 2017. James wins for his good nature, his ease at working with all talent. His own experience and knowledge is growing as is his support for Women in Games and his desire to challenge inequality in esports.
Team Award
The inaugural Women in Games Team Award goes to a team based in Manchester, Riot Gaming UK, an org which strives to be “the world’s leading organisation in female eSports across numerous titles and platforms. Management, players and creators all share one common ground – proving that females can keep up with the best of the best”. They are “the first and only organisation to be run successfully by five passionate and driven women”. They are “a tight-knit organisation who thrive from the loyalty of their members and followers, and see themselves as one big family. In only a short time they have gained a respectable fan-base and reputation online and offline.” Their current, most successful teams in both North America and Europe play Call of Duty.
Player Award
The inaugural Women in Games Player Award goes to Cordelia “Scarakye” Chui. The citation for her award has been written by Cordelia’s former Managing Director who sadly could not be at this year’s conference. “During her time with Barrage Esports, the person has had some incredible achievements including finishing 4th in the world at the World Electronic Sports Games. She has attended numerous Hearthstone events in the UK and abroad where she has proved time and time again that gender has no bearing on results. Most importantly she has been professional, kind and caring for those around her the entire time. She has worked extremely hard with and for the other members of the team and has been a fantastic example of what an esports professional should be. She is an inspiration to young women and I’ve been blessed to be part of her journey.”

WIGJ believes strongly that women and men should ultimately compete together in open tournaments, but that the esports sector as a whole need to do more to break down the barriers that exist to prevent many women reaching the highest levels of competition. To do this, it is important for both women and men to work together to tackle the under-representation of women that exists in all areas of esports. Our esports awards exist to celebrate the achievements of both women and men campaigning to make esports more welcoming and inclusive.

Women in Games WIGJ is a not for profit organisation run largely by volunteers. Next year our awards and what the judges will be looking for will be published well in advance so that more nominations can be considered. In our first year, it has been most important to get these awards off the ground alongside the 3 other sets of awards on offer at the European Women in Games Conference.

Congratulations once again to all our winners and we look forward to many more streaming and esports professionals being considered next year.

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