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    Girl Power: How women are taking over the scene of predominantly male sports

    Photo by Web Summit, CC BY 2.0

    The gender pay gap scandal in other professions continues to rumble on. Nevertheless, we wanted to shine the spotlight on a number of hugely-impressive young women who are demonstrating that they have what it takes to succeed in the world of sports alongside their male counterparts. They’re not necessarily the sports that you might immediately consider, either. We’re going to cover some unusual sporting professions that women are taking by storm. 

    Sasha Hostyn: Canada’s leading eSports star

    Twenty-four-year-old Canadian Sasha Hostyn has quickly become an eSports sensation. As a professional StarCraft II video gamer, Hostyn, who plays under the player ID ‘Scarlett’, has already earned more than $200,000 in her gaming career. She’s defeated a string of high-ranking players along the way since starting out in 2011. Hostyn’s success and demeanour are so impressive that The New Yorker has labelled her the most accomplished female in eSports today. At the time of writing, Hostyn remains the only female winner of any major international StarCraft II tournament. At the tournament hosted in the build-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Hostyn took the 2018 Intel Extreme Masters crown in Korea. Thanks to her career earnings in eSports, Hostyn’s name can also be found in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-paid female professional video gamer in history.

    Liv Boeree: An icon for women in poker

    With a first-class degree in Astrophysics, Liv Boeree isn’t your typical female poker player. Yet, despite her intelligence and innocent English Rose looks, Boeree is a hard rock fan with a steely determination to win at the tables. She’s now one of the most successful female poker players of all time, with tournament winnings of more than $3.5 million. Nicknamed “The Iron Maiden” (based on her will to win and love of rock music), Boeree quickly became an icon for female poker players. She is currently the only female poker player to have ever won titles at the World Series of Poker and the European Poker Tour. Back in 2014, Boeree also sought to integrate herself into charity work outside the game by co-founding Raising for Effective Giving, which has so far raised more than $6 million from the winnings of professional poker players.

    Hou Yifan: The only woman in the World Chess Federation Top 100

    As the youngest ever female to qualify for the title of “grandmaster” in Chess, Chinese sensation Hou Yifan is an undoubted prodigy. Since becoming a grandmaster as a youth by winning the Women’s World Championship in Turkey, Yifan clinched the title two other times in 2013 and 2016 and was a double gold medal-winner with China at the 2010 Asian Games. As the only female among the world’s top 100 chess players, Yifan is a trailblazer for women’s chess. Nevertheless, she is even more committed to her studies, having secured a place at Oxford University in 2018.

    This trio of women are hugely inspirational. They each prove that innate talent and positive psychology can win the day, regardless of gender. It’s hoped that these women continue to set the benchmark for females in sport and encourage more young women to get involved.

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