As you may have heard, the Hearthstone community is reeling from a gender segregation controversy. However you may feel about it, however, it should be made clear that it was not the existence of the tournament itself that precipitated the controversy.
So let’s get this out of the way. Finland’s Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier Head Administrator, Markus Koskivirta, gave this statement to PCGamer when asked why the segregation even exists:
Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only. In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things.
Now, here’s the context. The aforementioned tournament, as run by the IeSF, is itself male-only. The Finland e-Sports Federation isn’t allowing male players to compete vs. female players because there’s a risk that male players, who are in the running for the tournament, will be disqualified from losing to female players. The qualifier has to follow the rules set forth by the IeSF, and the FeSF has been lobbying for equal rights in the tournaments.
Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of why the IeSF has a male-only tournament in the 1st place. When asked about the issue, the IeSF iterated their stance, arguing that they want to promote eSports as an athletic event, and that they have set aside separate female only tournaments. However, they later responded to feedback on the issue, assuring the e-Sports community that they are listening and will give a response soon.