Women in an esports tech start-up

International Women’s Day is a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

 Today women in IT are not an everyday occurrence. The assumption that  IT is and has always been classically an overwhelmingly male domain is common. It couldn’t be further from the truth though and is actually a fairly recent development.  In 1987 40% of all positions in the IT sector were filled by women, compared to only around 20% today. Overall the Nordic Countries rank high in terms of gender equality, Denmark is lacking behind compared to Finland, Norway, and Sweden. This is especially prominent in the tech sector.

As a Danish Tech Startup with a product focussed on esports, the natural assumption would be that Cavea is purely a boys club. And while we may have started out like that, this is no longer the case today:

“When we started out in 2018, we were a team of guys. We have since then made a conscious effort to make our team as diverse as possible. I believe that is a great part of our success. There should be no need for this, but the reality is that diversity is something we need to actively work for.  And while we have improved, there is always room for growth, something we are committed to. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not only the “right thing to do” but a great opportunity for us.”

-Mircea Eftemie, CEO & Co-Founder Cavea.

On International Women’s Day, we want to highlight three of the amazing women on our team, and their experience in Tech and Gaming.

Gabriella Buslowska – AI Engineer and DevOps

Our master of all the AI models, and probably a genius, had parental support that encouraged her from a young age to get into tech. Both of them were in the field, and as she said, supported her in school with what they were good at themselves. “ My dad taught me how to divide >2-digit-numbers and now we do pair coding for fun.”

When talking to her about programming and AI, it’s hard to not see her passion for the topic. Gabriella also acknowledges that she was lucky that her parents supported her passions:

“I know women in tech whose dads were making fun of their pursuit to become a software engineer, so I can just imagine how challenging it must have been for them. I just can’t think of a person that wouldn’t need a support system when having a Fluid Mechanics course.”

She points out the opportunities in the STEM field, and how we need to support all young people interested in the area. Gabriella also recognizes that because of her parents support, she was able to succeed in a field that at least today, seems to have the cards stacked against women: “I believe it’s equally important to support all young in STEM, but because of family/cultural background it might be a bit harder for women and therefore we should encourage all female-tech initiatives.”

Maria Karampatzaki- Account Manager

An expert at the product and esports, Maria wasn’t always sure that this was a career option for her. As an avid gamer and esports fan, she has been in the scene for a while. She points out the importance of female role models in the scene :

“Every time I see a woman advancing in esports, like Samantha from Astralis or Karina from G2 for example, it really motivates me. It shows me that esports is a viable career option for any girl out there. Representation matters. ”

 She describes this as a breath of fresh air and as a huge encouragement: “10 years ago I could not have imagined that a career in esports would be a viable option for me. Not because I didn’t believe in the business and the market, but because my own experience as a woman in gaming was just tiring. I didn’t want to be objectified or underestimated just because I was a female. Learned quickly to not turn on my microphone when playing online. It’s not that I can’t handle the stupid, sexist comments, but I shouldn’t need to be able to handle it. Insult me all you want if I play garbage, that’s part of it. But my gender has nothing to do with it.”

This experience also extended to her working with esports: “I used to be the editor in chief for an esports magazine and was writing for red bulls gaming blog and somehow the assumption always was that my co-worker was the brains behind the operations.”
She adds “I believe there is still a lot of work to do, but esports has changed for the better, and maybe because of more diversity, has become a much more inclusive scene to work in. With great role models for girls and guys alike.”

Helena Fly Jørgensen – Office and Junior Account Manager

Starting off as Intern, Helena has quickly become an irreplaceable part of the Cavea team. As the office manager her job is to manage the day to day runnings of the Office, and she has recently taken on more responsibilities in the form of Junior Account Manager.  As a lifelong gamer Helena enjoys esports as a player herself and as a watcher:

“I never saw myself as a “girl gamer”. I never understood why gender should play a role in what you enjoy, I always just saw myself as a “gamer”. But I realize that this is not necessarily how I get viewed by others. I believe it is a matter of time, till girls gaming will be completely “normal” and nothing that makes you stand out or be uncommon.”

She draws parallels to the development of esports as a business: “What I realized working at Cavea, is that while esports is a super exciting business because it is about an interesting subject matter, it is still a business that needs to meet KPIs and grow and develop. But it is not this “exotic unicorn” anymore, but a legit investment. And I love that I can be part of supporting esports organizations making that transition.”