During its first call, the ONSIDE Fund received over 800 applications from 105 countries using a broad range of sports to advance gender justice. From skateboarding over the hills of Nepal to fighting gender stereotypes one weight lift at the time, we saw girls and women coming together to create alternative visions of what they want the world to look like, how they want to operate, organise, and advocate.
Out of the 836 received applications, only two of them had a focus on gaming or esports, one of the fastest growing sports globally. Especially with mobility and gathering restrictions around the world due to Covid, esports are gaining further traction and relevance. More and more, young people are turning around to gaming and esports while the physical pitches are closed. Despite the increase in numbers, these online spaces can also be places of brutal harassment and abuse, unhealthy and oppressive pressure and predatory practices, mirroring and an extension of the sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination and harassment that girls and women experience in the physical world.
At its core, ONSIDE was created to expose and analyse inequities and exclusion in sports from a feminist perspective. We envision a future where every girl and woman exercises their right to play. The ONSIDE Fund is interested in better understanding the use of gaming and esports to advance gender justice and digital inclusion. If you are an organisation or group using gaming to advance gender justice, or if you would like to contribute resources for this cause, please get in touch!