French video games diversity organisation Women in Games France has announced a brand new incubator to develop female talent in esports.
The first season of this initiative is being supported by none other than Riot Games, presumably in an effort to help rehabilitate its rather tarnished image when it comes to gender and diversity. This debut period will see five female League of Legends players receiving ten hours of coaching for four months before they go on to join professional organisations.
Applications are open now and will close in ten days time on December 23rd, 2018 with the minimum requirement of applicants being a Platinum V in League of Legends. If you are interested, you can apply right here.
Women in Games France says the incubator kicks off in January and will be finishing the following August.
"The actions of Women in Games France aim to make women more visible and better represented in the different sectors of the industry," said Women in Games France president Audrey Leprince.
"We sought to understand the factors which could impede women's access to the competitive scene. The difficulty to practice and to join historically masculine professional teams frequently come up as causes. The incubator, which trains talent, is, for us, the best response. By providing support and a framework to skilled women players, we are convinced that eventually, a greater representation of women in the esports scene is possible."
The patron of this project, freelance journo and European League of Legends tournament host Laure Valée, added: "Being a player and professional in the sector myself, I know how difficult it can be for a woman to feel legitimate and to make a mark in esports. No, esports is not only men, many women want to turn professional and have the ability to do so. It is vital that mentalises change and that this sector comes together to be more inclusive. I am delighted to be a part of the movement and that today, the stakeholders are getting involved and committing themselves to this project."
British members of the games industry will no doubt remember the debacle at this year's Women in Games Conference when a man somehow won Best Presenter prize. When questioned on this decision, the organisation doubled down on the decision, much to the confusion of much of the UK games industry.
We're glad to see their counterparts across the pond are doing some great work, even if the British side of things is letting the team down.
Oh, and to any men's rights activist types who are going to decry the I-WIG initiative as a sexist scheme that's unfair to men - take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if there aren't enough men in esports already. Thank you and good day.