Throughout the history of the game, different proposals have been made in order to increase female participation in the game of go. It is not only that women are in the minority, but that there is an observable difference to males in the average level of play. This leads one to ponder on the cause behind the disparity, as it is clear that men and women have the same intellectual abilities. Even though different initiatives such as the creation of the Pair Go Association have addressed the issue, the disparity still exists and something should be done about it.
In the spring of 2018, we launched the Argentinian Gender Comission by invitation of Santiago Laplagne, president of the Argentinian Go Association, with the purpose of achieving more gender equity and inclusion.
At that time we were five female players, and we started from the question: ‘What attracts us to the game?’ Soon we found ourselves repeating the questions: ‘Why are we so few?’ ‘Why do new female players soon quit the game?’ ‘Does it have something to do with the fact that the majority of players are male?’ ‘Can we think about it in a non-binary mode?’ Our initial answer was no. We needed to assemble and empower ourselves first, so there are no men in our commission so far. However, in the future we definitely want do something on a shared basis.
Our proposal is based on these guidelines:
- Create an online study group where we can study among ourselves, without having to concern about place or distance.
- Create a female go league with the purpose of integrating women who are not competing right now, where prizes such as teaching games, playing equipment, or certifications are given.
- Create a Female Rengo Championship in which we can all feel comfortable to play.
- Establish links of cooperation with other countries.
As soon as these guidelines were established we started with the difficult task of promoting female go in Argentina. Study groups were soon divided into categories, as there was a lot of interest from beginning female players, but also a large number of stronger players who wanted to concentrate on studying the deeper aspects of the game.
In October 2017, a female qualifier was organised to win a representative position to the 2nd Latin American Go Congress in Guatemala. We then came up with the idea of contacting our Chilean sisters to hold a female team match. The repercussion of this was astonishing. Soon female players who had previously not participated much at all began to approach us, wanting to improve at the game and become involved. This same type of female match was repeated in France at the beginning of this year and it was baptised World Women Team Conquest. This proved to us that we were definitely moving in the right direction.
When we started, it was impossible to imagine the success our activity would achieve. We couldn’t help thinking about extending this initiative to other countries, so that we could share our experiences from the Latin America.
Recognising minorities (not only gender) has shown us significant progress, since the players attain constancy and give importance to their game improvement.
As of now, the Gender commission has become a very important part of our go association, which has given us full support and opens doors to face new challenges of spreading the game. Considering that this issue exists beyond borders, we encourage ourselves to erase cultural and geographical boundaries and strive together to overcome all the differences and adversities that might arise between us players.
Report written by Gissella Gastín and Agostina Romero
Translated by Emil García