Yesterday the pro tour teams were announced but something was missing. Something pretty big: women. Somehow, despite the fact 38% of magic players are women, not one woman was brought onto a pro tour team. Now let’s be frank, this is not a talent problem. There are tons of very talented women in Magic. It’s due to a lack of support for women on the local level.

In order to get yourself to get to the level of the pro tour you have to be ready to really grind. Not casually playing Fridays, but ready to work your butt off all the time. It’s a job. A hard job. Pro players often have full organizations behind them supporting them. Women face a major disadvantage though, they really struggle to receive decent treatment at the local level. The more women I talk to the more I realize how widespread the mistreatment of women is. To even get to a point to be good enough to get to the pro tour you have to first fight through FNMs and PPTQs. At these events women face snide comments, alienation, and worse. It’s exhausting and often not worth the effort. You have to be three times as dedicated as a man to get to the same place.

A lot of people have struggled with understanding this. It seems like people are not listening to the stories the women around them are sharing. I’m not going to share more stories.  There are plenty of stories online already, including some of my own.  Instead I want to make a few suggestions of how we can all help fix this.

At your local store or tournaments you go to make sure you make everyone feel welcome. Don’t make stupid jokes to women you don’t know extremely well. Don’t treat them like they don’t know anything. Don’t ask where their boyfriend is. Just treat them like any other player because they in fact are just another player.

On a larger scale I think we need to encourage Wizards to put together a group who helps them make sure that they’re doing what they can to be welcoming to women and minorities.  They’ve had so many issues in the past including on Kaladesh (in regards to their treatment of Indian culture) and Liliana’s changing backstory.  I think that having a group of women, LBGTQ+ and other minorities on an official board to review things for them before going out would really help them become a better company and put out better product.  These people should still be players and in the community (I guess contractors from a legal stance) so they still have a solid footing with what’s going on outside of WOTC headquarters.  I think that as a company WOTC has been trying but falling short and I think taking this step could really help them bridge the gap.

Frankly at the end of the day I wish I could say let’s just ignore gender.  Unfortunately this is not a realistic proposal. We need to help women and other minorities get to equal ground before we can go ahead and “ignore” gender.  Hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to say that but until then go out of your way to be a good person.

Welcome those who are different from yourself, speak up when someone is doing something wrong, if you don’t understand something ask questions! Not sure who to ask? Send me a tweet! I’ll find someone who is an expert on the subject you’re curious about.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are only benefits to welcoming women into the fold.  We increase the number of players, increase prize support and help grow Magic.  How could that ever be a bad thing?

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH.

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