The main entrance of the HyperX Esports Arena is home to a few gaming monitors. Straight ahead are double doors, almost hidden, that transferred you into another world. The world of gaming.
But for this event, it was transformed into a world of gaming for women.
The 1,000 Dreams Fund’s BroadcastHER Academy Challenge awarded four female gamers — Alexandria de la Cruz, Giselle Colon, Obe Wan and Alesha Debose — each a $1,000 grant toward their individual gaming goals and a trip to the HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor, all costs covered.
“We fund women’s dreams broadly. I launched the organization three years ago with the focus of supporting extracurricular costs,” said Christie Garton, founder and CEO of 1DF.
The gaming industry has been dominated by men as competitors, though officials said women make up 50 percent of the esports industry. But like pro female sports, esports women struggle with challenges like gender gaps, financial support and being represented.
“When you look at the numbers, they (women) are gaming, streaming, viewing. They’re a huge part of this audience, but then you look at who’s making money as pro players, it’s men. So I think that’s another part of why we’re doing this,” Garton said.
At the HyperX arena, the ladies had a shadowing and hands-on experience of what it’s like in the industry behind the scenes, game development and production.
De la Cruz, a 24-year-old from Chicago, has been gaming since she was little and noticed the discrepancies in the industry.
“Women don’t really have any representation. It’s (1DF) very important because the more women are in it, the more other women will feel comfortable and be outward about gaming,” de la Cruz said.
Colon, a 26-year-old from Oklahoma, said: “Gaming is for any gender. I think it is important to show that it’s not just for men.”
Added Judson Hannigan, CEO of Allied ESports: “We are extremely proud to be working with our partners, HyperX and HARMAN, in support of the 1,000 Dreams Fund to advance and create experiences for women in gaming.”
Women who are interested in gaming should pursue the opportunity, Colon said.
“I think that 1DF is an amazing opportunity for girls to reach their goals if they weren’t able to financially or any other way,” she said.