We are quick to believe that playing video games online is a man’s world. However, in reality, that’s not how it is at all. As per ‘Think With Google APAC-Play like a Girl Report, 2020’, nearly 18% of all gamers in India are women. And the number is increasing at a rate faster than ever.

From gamers to streamers, game developers, and entrepreneurs, women are carving a niche for themselves in the online gaming arena.

Moreover, being paid to play and stream video games with hordes of adoring fans cheering for you sounds nothing less than a fairy tale. However, if truth be told, these glories for women gamers come with additional obstacles that their male counterparts might never experience.

Too often pegged as highly sexualized beings with incompetent anomalies, the country’s gamer girls have had enough of the iniquity. They are a fast-growing tribe which reflects into the competitive sphere of gaming where women in India are gaining popularity.

So here are the wonder women who went on to become inspiring gamers, and are smashing stereotypes and changing the industry, one game at a time.

1. Shagufta “Xyaa” Iqbal

Shagufta Iqbal, known as Xyaa in the gaming world, spends her day writing codes and by night, the coder transforms into a die-hard gamer. She picked up gaming as a hobby at the age of 12 and thus began her journey to becoming a world-class gamer.

What began initially with flash game CDs later evolved to online gaming, making Iqbal one of the first notable female gamers in India.

It, however, hasn’t been a cakewalk for Shagufta Iqbal; she received a lot of sexist backlash and negativity in the world of online gaming. But the gamer has overcome all hurdles and in January 2018, she started live streaming and has been entertaining us ever since.

Shagufta Xyaa Iqbal women in gaming streamer and coder
Source: Facebook

2. Paridhi “Rav3n” Khullar

Commonly known as the Gamer Girl of India, Paridhi Khullar is one of India’s finest online players. Paridhi a.k.a Rav3n nurtured her interest in gaming by playing PC games with her brother from a very young age. Alongside, the gamer also has added several feathers to her already colorful hat as she also been a national and state player in sports like hockey, basketball, and judo.

The game streamer in India who currently boasts off 2.25 lakh subscribers on YouTube, started her career as a digital marketer before venturing into the world of gaming.

Paridhi Rav3n Khullar IG mortal gamer Pubg

3. Manasvi “Manasvivi” Dalvi

Manasvi Dalvi dons many hats; she is a lawyer by profession, a national-level athlete in the discus throw and shot put, and a self-proclaimed meme lord. And above all, she’s a die-hard gamer. Manasvi Dalvi started gaming in the first standard when her father gifted her one of those TV video game consoles.

And since then there’s no looking back for the pro gamer as she continues slaying competitors and etching her name in the gaming world. It was no easy voyage for Manasvivi as she has had to endure everything from subtle jabs to sexist ideologies, but the frustratingly dismissive attitude has not prevented her from pursuing her passion for gaming and live streaming.

Manasvi Manasvivi Dalvi female live streamer gamer in India
Source: The Bridge

4. Vidushi “Mogambo” Singh Suryavanshi

When it comes to gamer girls, Vidushi Singh is a trailblazer. While gaming started as a form of escapism for her, little did she realize then that she would go on to be a league player for 5 years and become one of India’s most influential professional gamers.

She was a close friend of Apollonia Hinds, the then captain of Girlaxy Singapore, and decided to follow her lead and created Girlaxy India in 2018, thus finding the most talented women gamers in the country to form the roster.

Mogambo led the team for a year, competing and bagging awards in different championships. As one of the country’s most popular gamer girls, Vidushi now hopes to encourage and support more women to take up gaming professionally.

Vidushi Mogambo Singh Suryavanshi gamer girl in India
Source: Women Exclusive

5. Saloni “Meow16k” Pawar

Saloni Pawar’s love affair with gaming began at 14 when she accidentally stumbled upon her brother’s shooting games and there has been no turning back since then. She has been a part of the gaming community for more than six years and is the first gamer girl to represent India at an international eSports tournament in Thailand in 2019.

Like many women gamers, Meow16k felt like an outcast in a male-dominated space and didn’t disclose her identity online for quite some time.

She was constantly heckled for being a gamer and even held back from playing.  But the gamer soon realized it is important to lift up other women gamers like her and started live streaming. And now, she is one of India’s most popular streamers on YouTube.

Saloni Meow16k Pawar gamer girl in India
Source: Gadgets NDTV