Skillz Blog


We’re back with the second edition of our Women’s History Month blog series! This week, we are focusing on women who play. These women defied the norm and followed their dreams. If you have yet to read the first chapter in our series, check it out here!


Image Credit: GamerWomen

Doris Self: First Competitive Female Gamer

Doris Self has an interesting story of “firsts.” Throughout her life, Self was positive, competitive, and persistent. In 1945, Doris became one the first stewardesses for Eastern Airlines at the age of 19. This was only the beginning of her life spent pushing the status quo; she also later created the very first ex-stewardess association.

Her passion for video games came into play in 1980 when she was taking her daughter to the movie theater. Her daughter stopped at a “Q*Bert” game and said, “Hey Mom, you’d get a kick out of this.” This was the moment that launched her career in competitive gaming. She became addicted to the game and frequently visited her local 24-hour arcade where she would play for hours.

In 2007, Doris Self was officially recognized as the World’s Oldest Video Game Competitor.


Image Credit: GamerWomen

Carol Shaw: First Woman to Program and Design a Video Game

Carol Shaw became interested in computers when she discovered she could play text-based games. She graduated from The University of California, Berkeley with a degree in computer science engineering in 1977 and quickly decided to work at Atari because, as she says, “I got paid to play games.”

It took her six months to build “3D Tic-Tac-Toe,” her first game at Atari, which she created completely on her own – graphics, sound and all. After its launch, she continued working at Atari making contributions to titles like “Video Checkers.”

Eventually, she left due to the a downturn in the video game market. She continued her career as a computer software manufacturer at Tandem, but could not stay away from video games for long. After just a year, she returned to the video game industry, this time joining Activision where she went on to create classic games such as “River Raid” and “Happy Trails.”


Image Credit: Compete

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn: First Woman to Win a Major “StarCraft II” Tournament

Sasha Hostyn grew up in a small town in Canada. From a young age, she enjoyed games like “Magic: The Gathering,” and would spend her free time playing video games. At 17, she began competing in “StarCraft II” full-time. In 2006, she was recognized as the highest-earning female in competitive gaming history. To date, she has earned upwards of $250,000.

In February 2018, she competed in the first Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang tournament. The tournament, closely associated with the International Olympic Committee, featured eighteen players who represented nations from around the world.

Hostyn represented Canada, winning $50,000 and becoming the first female to win a major “StarCraft II” tournament.


These influential women all made history doing what they love and paved the way for future female gamers – including our top 2017 mobile eSports athletes, 70% of which were women. We’re looking forward to highlighting even more female in tech and gaming throughout the remainder of Women’s History Month. Be sure to check back with us next week for our blog post featuring women who lead!