Good Game

The*GameHERs’ Dream Stream Is All About Championing Womxn Gamers

Finding a community — a space where you feel like you belong without reservation — can be hard, especially in a world as varied as esports and gaming. That’s why the*gameHERs, a community-first organization dedicated to creating safe, inclusive spaces for and amplifying the voices of women and femme-identifying gamers, is trying to make it easier with its nearly month-long Dream Stream event. 
Running every Monday to Saturday from January 30 to February 24, Dream Stream 2023 is a way for the*gameHERs to continue the work of its annual awards ceremony, which celebrates women and femme-identifying people in the industry. Every day for four weeks, one of the finalists from the awards’ streaming categories (for example, Twitch Streamer of the Year, Creative Streamer of the Year, etc.) gets to take over the*gameHERs Twitch channel and do what they do best: create the smart, unique and engaging content that got them nominated. The goal is twofold. On one hand, creators get to connect with new audiences, while on the other, fans get to discover new streamers to follow. 
“It’s a really fun event that reflects the diversity of the awards themselves,” the*gameHERs co-founder and CEO Rebecca Dixon said during Thursday’s R29 Twitch stream. “We are the go-to place for women in gaming — that’s our tagline — and that can mean a lot of things in this era where gaming is intersecting with so many other parts of our lives. The ability to feature streamers on our Twitch is something that we really like to do because it’s an important part of our business, industry, and it’s also the place where the community really comes to life.”  
When all is said and done, the*gameHERs will have hosted more than 20 women and femme-identifying creators on its Twitch, including esports caster LemonKiwi; cosplayer xxBrandy; reaction streamer AGirlAndAGame; casual variety gamer MissDeusGeek; and Apex Legends streamer MufasaScreams
The Dream Stream is just one part of the*gameHERs overall mission, Dixon explained to R29 Entertainment Director and Twitch host Melissah Yang. It’s one of the organization’s three signature events, including the aforementioned awards and the Professional Boot Camp, a three days of workshops, mentorship meetings, networking, and more led by industry powerhouses
But there’s also smaller, impact-driven work that the*gameHERs continues all year round. Even if the changes are slow and small, the group is committed to seeing esports evolve. For example, during Dream Stream, guest creators are paid a small honorarium for their appearances. It sounds like something that should be standard industry-wide, but it’s not, especially for streamers with smaller followings who may come from marginalized backgrounds. “A lot of streamers are asked to stream for nothing,” Dixon said. “If you’re a big brand, you should be paying streamers their rates, but even smaller companies can always fit something into their budget because streamers are worth a lot. I would love to see this happen more often.” 
Something else the*gamerHERs is focused on? Creating more access to entry into the industry by expanding across colleges, according to Dixon. They have a dedicated Discord for anyone involved at the collegiate level (from students to coaches and teams), and encourage schools to adopt the*gameHERs code of conduct — essentially a comprehensive set of rules saying, “We care about encouraging women and femme-identifying gamers and creating space for them.” 
“Colleges with women in gaming clubs or organizations [often see] that attendance is sometimes low,” Dixon said. “That speaks to some of the deeper challenges that gamers on college campuses experience — maybe they don’t know who's going to be there, or if they’re going to feel comfortable. But aligning with our brand really helps increase participation and membership almost instantly by 20 to 30 percent.” 
There is, of course, still a long way to go (look at who receives esports scholarships, for example), but Dixon says she has seen progress since the*gameHERs’ launch in 2019. For one, discussions about inclusivity are happening in more meaningful ways. You’re not seeing just one token “women in gaming” panel at annual conventions as often, and, in Dixon’s experience, she can tell people and organizations are thinking deeper about the exact changes that need to occur and how to make them happen. 
“The more discussion around women in gaming, the more support that is aligned with our mission, the better. We can all hold hands and join together,” she said. “As an industry, [we have to] all acknowledge that things do evolve, that we need to continue to learn, and mistakes can be made along the way — that’s important. The next step is to actually implement some of the strategy around [these topics], and I look forward to continuing to move the needle closer to a world where we're not having to talk about these things.”
Refinery29 Twitch streams Thursdays at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.

More from Entertainment

R29 Original Series