The idea that women can do anything is a bit outdated. Obviously, women and men are capable of handling the same responsibilities and showcasing similar talents, interests, and motivations. The true mission behind diversity is to foster spaces for greater innovation and freedom. Instead of doing what men do, women offer a unique perspective—not rote replication.
This means that every female professional who enters a once-male-dominated sector has the ability to leave her mark. For example, the WNBA is often compared to the NBA in terms of player talent and overall quality of play. In reality, the WNBA has a different playing style from its male counterpart; there tends to be less flash and more teamwork, which has added a new dimension to professional basketball.
In fact, there are many fields of entertainment where women are introducing a unique perspective to future generations. Let’s take a closer look by diving into the sectors currently undergoing periods of growth and innovation.
Poker: Finding a Place at the Table
Anyone looking to learn the ins and outs of poker can easily find an online platform and guide to get started with their first hand. From there, the card game gets a lot more complex—and quickly. Hand rankings intersect with skills like bluffing and probability.
In the past, social customs prevented women from entering the saloons and casinos where poker was played. Today, that’s no longer the case. Women are able to join in large-scale tournaments in Vegas, along with online qualifiers for competitions like the European Poker Tour.
So, what are pros like Liv Boeree doing differently? Very few of them wear poker faces, instead choosing to be more transparent at the table.
Skateboarding: A Young Olympic Roster
Ever since skateboarding emerged as an extreme and alternative sport in the 1990s, it was largely the domain of men. The sport’s rough-and-tumble reputation, combined with personalities like Tony Hawk and the emergence of at-home video gaming, helped solidify skateboarding as a male-dominated activity.
However, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics included skateboarding for the first time—and helped put female skaters on the map. This wasn’t just a huge coup for female skaters, but also for young female athletes of all stripes. The majority of participants were born later than 2000, which highlights the potential for young competitors to perform on a global stage.
Horseracing: Blackmore Takes the Reigns
Similar to card games like poker, longstanding activities like horseracing have been the domain of men. This, once again, hearkens back to social customs that no longer exist. In the UK and Ireland, female jockeys and horse trainers have been active in competitions like the Grand National and Cheltenham for decades—but none have had the effect of Rachael Blackmore.
Blackmore began jockeying back in 2011. Since then, she’s become one of the world’s greatest jockeys. In 2019, she nabbed her first title at Cheltenham alongside Henry de Bromhead. In 2021, she went on to become the first woman to both lead the Cheltenham Festival with six victories and win the Grand National later that year. In 2022, she won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, becoming the first woman to do so.
Video Games: A New Female Athlete
Professional eSports are likely to go down as the greatest innovation in entertainment seen in the early 21st century. Given video games have been a male-dominated field, the vast majority of eSports athletes are male and the largest tournaments for games like Dota 2 and League of Legends are compromised largely of male spectators, staff, and participants.
Still, the industry has made early strides to foster interest and infrastructure for female gamers. On Twitch, streamers like Amouranth and Pokimane have millions of followers, and they're able to leverage this following to obtain lucrative sponsorship deals. Meanwhile, players like Sasha Hostyn (Scarlett) and Katherine Gunn (Mystik) are building their careers as top athletes on official eSports teams across a variety of titles.
Going forward, the eSports industry is in a unique position to steer female-first gaming. However, there’s still a large gap in the number of male versus female participants in terms of streamers, subscribers, and professional players.