When Steph Harvey games, she uses the handle, “missharvey.” But she really should think about changing it to: “wontbackdown.” The native of Canada was one of the first females to get into the eSports arena and has the battle scars to prove it.
“I was really a pioneer, which I didn’t know at the time, and it was not easy,” Harvey said in an interview with On The A Side. “Over the internet, people don’t have to deal with the repercussions of insulting someone else. They can’t see a sad face. I had to build a really strong shell to be able to succeed.”
And succeed she has. Harvey is one of the best female gamers in the world. She won the World Electronic Sports Games in 2017, but her success extends far beyond competition. She is an activist and has been vocal about gender disparity in player earnings and the abuse women constantly face in gaming.
“It’s still a ‘boy’s club’ so as a woman you’re automatically judged for being different,” Harvey said in an interview with the BBC. “I get harassed all the time. Why do I do this if my community hates me? Because I am a feminist and I believe women have a place in gaming.”
Harvey has proved she belongs in gaming; earning almost $30,000 from the sport, placing her in the top 10 for career earnings amongst women.