Sky Broadband takes a stand against sexism in esports by showing the real abuse female gamers face
Sky Broadband and Guild Esports are collaborating on a new social-led campaign designed to highlight abuse faced by women gamers online.
The campaign uses influencers to share the experience of sexist abuse in online gaming / Ella Don
The experience of being a woman gamer has been brought home by a new social-led campaign from Sky Broadband. The #NoRoomForAbuse campaign features influencers sharing their own participation in an immersive experience designed to recreate the intimidation and abuse aimed at women gamers when they play online.
The experience sees influencers invited to play a basic game while alone in the center of a room surrounded by screens. As the game progresses, the silhouettes of men gradually begin crowding the screens, and abuse and taunts are then hurled at the player. The influencers’ stress levels and success within the game are measured over time, the better to represent the impact such abuse has on those who are subject to it.
While the experience is inherently artificial, it is based upon actual experiences had by women gamers associated with Guild Esports. As a result, when the influencers share the content on their channels, it gives a snapshot into the daily life of professional women gamers – and the obstacles that prevent more women from getting into esports.
The campaign was based on research from Sky, which found that nearly half (49%) of women gamers in Britain have experienced a level of abuse or harassment when playing or streaming online. That figure climbs to 75% among those aged 18 to 24. As a result over half (52%) of women say they feel worried about playing games online over concerns for their mental health.
Addressing the issue
Jaclyn Beavis, head of advertising and campaigns at Sky, explained why the brand decided to take a stand when it could easily have simply avoided addressing the issue: “The language used in gaming is unacceptable with many unaware of the experience women face every day. Influential voices are pivotal to helping us raise awareness, demonstrate change and call upon their audience to become allies and stand with us against the abuse in gaming.
“We’re proud to be working with Guild Esports and Cybersmile to help educate gamers and encourage them to be better allies. We’re also committed to creating a level playing field for women in gaming through tournaments, events, educational experiences and more.”
To that end, she told The Drum that Sky Broadband plans to continue supporting the campaign past the initial experience. She notes that “our series of The Lobby Live events will be how we extend the reach of #NoRoomForAbuse. They will essentially create a safe space for women gamers and their allies to game together.”
Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports added: “Improving opportunities for women in esports is a key commitment of our partnership with Sky. While there’s still work to be done, we’re proud to be at the forefront of fostering greater female participation in the sector and creating an inclusive gaming community.”
Skee also points out that the campaign on its own is not designed to try to solve the problem single-handedly, but rather to raise awareness of the issue using influencers as the vector to share the experience. In concert with the experience, Sky Broadband has also partnered with charity Cybersmile to create a series of interactive educational modules to raise awareness of sexist abuse in gaming, promoting personal safety and empowering gamers to be better informed. The modules cover how to recognize abuse, how to report abusive behavior and – most importantly, for the purposes of the campaign – how to become an ally.