Glance at the shift in the gender narrative, you might think women have made their way in pretty much every sphere of professional life. While women are making a mark everywhere, there are certain fields such as gaming where there is still a gender gap. Taking one step at a time and trying to change the narrative of the gaming industry is Mumbai-based Kaashvi Hiranandani.
The 25-year-old is breaking all stereotypes and has emerged as one of the most successful streamers and content creators in the Indian Esports world. Popular by the name KaashPlays, she was brave enough to quit her job in Singapore as a finance consultant and choose full-time game streaming. But it was not in vain. She has more than 760,000 subscribers on YouTube today.
In an exclusive interview with Health Shots, Kaashvi Hiranandani talks about how she came into the industry and what challenges she faces in the male-dominated industry of gaming.
When Kaashvi Hiranandani fell in love with gaming
A child who found a computer in her father’s office never even imagined that she would be pursuing a career and be a game-changer in the gaming industry. It was there that she learned to play games like Pinball, Minesweeper, and Solitaire, and she was hooked for hours. Fast forward several years later, she is one of the biggest women players in India with a huge following that supports her.
However, Hiranandani thinks that there is so much more that she can learn and continues to do so with each passing day. With that thought in mind, she feels proud to have taken the risk of choosing her passion as her profession.
Being a woman in the gaming industry is not an easy job
For the longest time, there has been an inherent gender bias in the tech industry when it comes to women. The world of gaming is not so different. Even games have historically been created with men in mind. Fortunately, that is starting to change with Hiranandani and other women gamers leading from the front. However, there is still a bias that women gamers face on a regular basis.
Addressing the issue, she says, “As a female gamer, I have noticed that the number of females who play online games is relatively low. Often, when I turn on my microphone in a game, my teammates are surprised. If I play well, they are amazed to see a girl play well, and if I don’t, they blame it on me being a girl. However, I believe that this is changing with time as more women enter the gaming space.”
She adds, “Like all industries, gender diversity is crucial in gaming as well. In my opinion, female gamers struggle slightly more with online hate. However, on the brighter side, there are a lot of women’s initiatives and opportunities that are a first step towards an industry free of discrimination.”
Your approach and what you learn in your journey matter the most
Hiranandani’s passion for creating content got her inducted into India’s topmost gaming content organisation S8UL. From among the lesser-known female streamers in the community to win the Streamer of the year in Loco India Awards, she has been an unstoppable rising star in the gaming industry.
She does so because gaming is her true passion which makes the gamer feel empowered. “I believe that gaming is empowering because it teaches a lot of skills, such as problem-solving, memory, focus, and reflexes. Additionally, it’s a great way to make friends and connect with people,” she adds.
Speaking of success, Hiranandani says, “Although success or loss may taste the same in the digital world, what matters most is how you approach it and what you learn from it.”
A message to young women who want to choose the unconventional path of gaming?
As per the young gamer, there is a lot of scope for youngsters to get into the gaming business and explore and benefit from it. So, her one message to women trying to make it big in the gaming industry is: “If gaming interests you, there’s never been a better time to dive right in. There are many opportunities and support for women in gaming. Stay focused on your goals, don’t let negativity discourage you, and stay consistent in pursuing your dreams.”
(Kaashvi Hiranandani is nominated for the Health Shots She Slays Awards, presented by Ambience Group and Powered by Vedanta Group, in the Women in the Gaming category. To vote for her or to review our other nominees, please click here!)