Earlier this week SimBin Studios UK announced Women and Wheels, the first ever women-only esports racing competition. SimBin made the announcement at this year’s European Women in Games Conference, held in London.
The competition is due for autumn and will draw attention to the roles of women in racing and its history. The female-friendly atmosphere hopes to drive more women into the esports scene. SimBin also promise that a percentage of the revenue will go to female-focused charities, although specifics have yet to be released.
“We’re thrilled to announce Women and Wheels,” said Allan Speed, the head of SimBin Studios. “As a developer, we’re acutely aware of the low female participation in esports. Around seven percent of our race competitors are female. Unbelievably, that’s probably over average. We want to see more women enjoying the thrills and spills of the virtual track and esports in general. At SimBin we’ve achieved 50/50 gender balance in our studio workforce, so we thought we’d try to encourage more women to compete in our competitions too.”
Marie-Clare Isaaman, CEO of advocacy group Women in Games, announced that she was behind the project.
“Women and Wheels is a fantastic initiative. It’s a shame we need women-only teams, leagues and competitions in esports but until the sector fully matures, becomes more gender balanced and takes steps to eradicate online bullying and misogyny, they represent a great way to get more women involved by building communities, confidence and skills,” said Isaaman. “It’s not true that women aren’t competitive, or that they don’t like cars. The CEO of General Motors is currently a woman, and the founder of Autoweek, Denise McCluggage, used to race Ferraris! Esports has great potential to level the playing field for women in competitive sport, and I think Women and Wheels is [a] progressive step towards achieving that.”
Women and Wheels will be a timed online racing competition, available on Steam. Prizes for competition winners include a €3,000 Racing Simulator Chair, two Fanatec Racing Wheel and Pedal Sets, and a life-coaching program from Epiphany Junkie.
Despite gaming perceived as a male-dominated entertainment form, it is estimated that 50 percent of gamers are now female, but only 5 percent are esports players. Women and Wheels is an important step towards encouraging more female gamers to get into the genre.
Women & Wheels logo courtesy simbin.com.