Breaking the Glass Monitor: Examining the Underrepresentation of Women in Esports Environments

Lindsey Darvin, John Holden, Janelle Wells, Thomas Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


While the growth of esports is undeniable, access, inclusivity, and diversity within this space is reminiscent of U.S. pre-Title IX traditional sport environments. As such, recent calls for the inclusion of esports within the traditional sport management literature have been persua-sive. The esports industry is largely male dominated, as women and girls represent a lower proportion of participants, fans, and employees. While the proportions are staggering, the underrepresentation of women and girls in the esports industry has not been fully explored. In order to investigate this underrepresentation, 10 women esports competitors, content creators, and executives advanced our under-standing of both the career experiences and career obstacles they encounter including (1) breaking the glass monitor, (2) toxic “geek” masculinity, (3) hostile sport environments, and (4) “mental” (e.g., grit). This investigation utilized a generic, qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews and employed an inductive thematic-analysis process to uncover the experiences of women employees in the esports industry. This will serve as the first qualitative study in sport management that examines the career experiences of elite-level women gamers and executives. As such, the major contributions are the identified obstacles that women have faced in their rise to elite level careers within this space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-499
Number of pages25
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Esports
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • hostile sports
  • toxic masculinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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