Esports gender diversity: A leisure constraints perspective

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Esports are a leading form of digital leisure. Esports offer salient career opportunities, ranging from professional players to roles in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fields where women have been traditionally underrepresented. Yet women are also underrepresented at the professional level in esports. This is particularly problematic as high-level competitors provide visible representation to inspire others, foregoing opportunities to leverage esports broad appeal. We employ the hierarchical model of leisure constraints to understand what limits individuals from engaging in leisurely pursuits. The purpose of our study is to compare leisure constraints to esports participation by gender. Data were collected from male and female esports participants (N = 402) via online survey. Results show that female esports participants had significantly higher interpersonal and intrapersonal constraints. This likely influences their desire to work in esports and related fields, thereby partially explaining the lack of female representation in the upper echelons of esports.




This article is the authors' final published version in Journal of Leisure Research, Volume [X], Issue [X], May 2023, [Article number XXX OR Pages XX-XX].

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/00222216.2023.2193186. Copyright © Informa UK Limited