Female influencers were on the rise in 2021, but still only represent 5% of the top 1,000 gaming creators according to Stream Hatchet’s report.
It has been roughly a month since 2021 came to a close, marking another momentous year for the streaming industry. YouTube and Facebook Gaming continue to rise in popularity, becoming direct competitors to Twitch. With the booming success of these platforms, data analysts Stream Hatchet took a look into the gender gap of the top 1,000 gaming creators. Overall female influencers are on the rise.
For reference the three major streaming platforms of 2021, the top 5 female streamers are:
- ASMR streamer Amouranth
- “Queen of YouTube” Valkyrae
- V-Tuber Usada Pekora
- Korean variety streamer Saddummy
- OfflineTV’s Pokimane
Female influencers in the overall ranking
Despite what some might assume, there are no females in last year’s top ten streamers. Amouranth, the top female streamer, places 46th in top streamers of 2021 – albeit an improvement from 2020’s 63rd, a spot previously occupied by Valkyrae.
In the top 200 Gaming Influencers, StreamHatchet estimates only 5% of those influencers are female – which is still an increase from 2020’s 3%. It is also estimated that only 27% of the top 3,000 video game streamers are women, a decrease from past year’s 28%.
Stream Hatchet broke down the percentage of female influencers in the top 1,000 channels of each streaming platform, judged by average viewership. Twitch leads with 11.3%, followed by YouTube’s 8.3%, while, Facebook Gaming has only 7.4% – showcasing a wide gap between male and female streamers across all platforms.
While the numbers are definitely rising compared to past years, the industry has a long way to go before we can make it an equal space for both genders.
What have the streaming platforms done to balance the tilting scale?
In celebration of Women History Month, Twitch launched the Twitch Women’s Alliance program. They hosted Everywoman, a 2-day Twitch event showcasing female figures of dance music to journalists and artists. They also supported the 1,000 Dreams Fund BroadcatHER Grant, as they have from 2018.
Throughout March, they featured different female streamers every day on the front page of Twitch. They have also implemented stricter guidelines to lessen harassment towards women and other minorities on their platform, especially after the onslaught of hate-raiding bots late last year.
On International Women’s Day, YouTube spotlighted emerging women creators of all creative genres on their official YouTube channel. In honor of Breonna Taylor’s memory, YouTube posted an interview with Professor Kimberle Crenshaw, founder of the ‘SayHerName’ movement, to discuss the discrimination faced by women of color.
YouTube has also featured multiple female figures on their blog and official channel throughout the year.
In 2021, Facebook Gaming launched a video series featuring empowered female gamers, in honor of Women’s History Month.
They launched the #SheTalksGames campaign, where they invite female workers of the industry to share their stories. They also made a panel discussion between creators and female leaders and spotlighted female creators in their social media.
Portrayal of women in video games
In a primarily-male industry, it’s not hard to believe that video games themselves aren’t very inclusive of women. According to this YouGov poll, only 13% of women and 24% of men believe that women are portrayed well in video games.
This issue has always been debated among gamers. On the side of those who disagree, they raise the argument of how female characters are often treated in video games -whether consciously or subconsciously.
From MOBA to open-world games, the portrayal of women is often unrealistic or at times non-existent. The misrepresentation ranges from the typical trope of a female character dying/kidnapped to further the male protagonist’s plot to highly impractical outfits for female characters living in a warzone.
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This is not surprising, considering some of the cases that have come to light in recent years. With big names like Riot Games and Activision Blizzard sued for workplace misconduct, video games are sometimes developed in unhealthy environments.
But the past few years have definitely shown some improvement, one of the examples being The Last of Us Part 2’s portrayal of its female characters.
Their character design is a breath of fresh air for gaming fans; with varying body types that makes women feel seen and costume design that fits the narrative of the story.
In the esports and gaming space there are fortunately several organisations pushing to improve diversity and inclusion, such as Women in Games International.
Esports.gg partners with Women in Games International for 2022 (WIGI)
Esports.gg will be supporting WIGI's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in esports through a year-long partnership for 2022.