A recent study in the U.S. revealed that of the 31.4 million gaming fans, only 30% are female. As a full-time streamer on Twitch, Autumn Rhodes has made a name for herself in the male dominated gaming world. This Toronto based streamer, who started playing games with her dad at a young age, talks about her experiences in an industry not always open to the fairer sex.

1. How did you get into eSports?

I started playing video games at a very young age because of my father and my brother, and ever since then I’ve never been able to stop. When I was introduced to the eSports world I was astonished about how it all worked. Being a very competitive person, I decided it was time to take my love for gaming to the next level, and when I discovered Twitch.tv and all the amazing possibilities I had in front of me.

2. What exactly do you do in the eSports arena?

I am a full time streamer on Twitch. I play games such as CS:GO, CoD, LoL, and so many more. I dedicate hours and hours a day to these games, always practicing, and always trying to be the best I can be. I’ve played competitively in many games and I always have such a great time doing so.

3. What do you think of women in eSports, specifically in your region?

I think the women involved in eSports around my region, which is Toronto, give a good name for all of us. They know how difficult it can be in this industry as a woman, and they work hard to maintain their image as not only a serious competitive player but as a woman who can play just as well as any man. Because Toronto has such a high population there is so much competition in the eSports world.

4. What has been some of your experiences of being in a field that has been dominated by males?

Some of my experiences in this field haven’t always been great, but other times they’ve been fantastic. I remember being in the Cineplex World Gaming CoD tournament last year, and as I walked into the theater the men were just shocked as to why I was even there. The male I faced was so terrified because he never had to play against a girl before and he didn’t know what to expect; it made him so nervous. Meanwhile, some other men at the tournament figured because I am a woman that I would easily be beaten because there’s no way I could be good at any games. Being in an industry where we’re told we “can’t possibly play video games because we’re women” is really disappointing in today’s society. There are just SO many men who hate on women who are involved in the gaming industry, and I don’t know if this is because society has taught people that ONLY boys can play video games or if some of them are just too ignorant to realize that our sex has absolutely nothing to do with our capability of being great at something.

5. What is your favorite thing about being part of the eSports community?

My favorite thing about being a part of the eSports community is how well we all understand each other. It’s such a great feeling going to competitions and events and having so much in common with everyone. We all can relate in one way or another.

6. What is the most difficult part of being in eSports?

The most difficult part about being in eSports as a woman is how so many men look at us. They rarely take us seriously and it’s quite annoying because we’ve worked just as hard as them or harder to get where we are in the gaming industry.

7. Why do you think it’s so important that women be represented in eSports?

I think it’s very important that more women are represented in eSports because we need to break the stereotype that it’s only a man’s world. SO many women avoid the gaming industry because of the fact that so many get harassed and bullied for showing an interest in gaming. It’s nice to see that people are finally starting to shed light on this topic and speak out about it.

8. What are your hopes for women in eSports?

My hope for women in eSports is that one day men won’t judge us for being a part of the gaming community and that they will realize we can play games just as well as them and even better. I can tell over the past couple of years more and more people are opening up to females in the gaming world, which is such a relief because it isn’t fair to the women such as myself who put so much time and dedication into competitive gaming to just be shut down because society says we can’t be good at games.