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These women are working to close the gender gap in competitive gamingby Marc Urbino
eSports

WATCH | In a male-dominated community, these women are speaking up to bring more diversity to gaming.

The University of California, Irvine, held their first-ever "Women in Gaming" panel, which brought out female figures in the gaming community. The women spoke about their experiences with gaming and how stereotypes have impacted their paths.

These women in included:

Rumay "Hafu" Wang (World of Warcraft Pro), Rachel "Seltzer" Quirico (eSports host), Heidi McDonald (Creative Director, iThrive), Kathy Chiang (UCI eSports Arena Coordinator), and Lena Uzkoreit (Ph.D. Student at The University of Southern California).

Amanda Cullen, a UCI grad student who started the initiative, moderated the panel.

Often times, exclusion from games as a child hindered their growth as a competitor. Wang, who was told games were only for boys, asserts that had she started earlier, she could have been much better by the time she went pro, despite being a champion in World of Warcraft at BlizzCon.

In spite of the negativity, there has been a general trend upward for diversity in gaming. Quirico states that more women have been coming in, and that has created a greater voice for representation in the community. 

Their advice for women looking to go into gaming: do it.

As McDonald said: "You got to feel the fear, do it anyways. And if you fail, fail spectacularly, so that people respect the failure."