Let me preface my opinion by stating a few things that seem to sometimes get forgotten in these types of threads.
- I'm not an expert on the matter and my references are limited to the multitude of articles on the net.
- I haven't properly researched it so I don't have any scientific studies to back up my take on this subject.
Here it goes:
Personally I don't see the lack of female pro gamers in OWL as an issue per se. In my opinion the issue actually stems from the general culture of video games being, for the large majority, tailored for boys. Whether it's marketing or content it's a fact that the main audience is young men.
There's also the cultural aspect where female gamers are more likely to be treated differently and/or harassed than their male counter parts. These and several other factors likely contribute to the smaller pool of available talent when it comes to male vs female gamers.
This then leads into the "issue" we have today where due to the lower number of competitive female players in comparison to their male counterparts you will inevitable see far less that are able to compete at the top level. This is a number's game plain and simple. Out of all the Overwatch players out there there was only a maximum of 144 if all 12 teams maxed out their rosters. That's an insanely small portion of the community, and if we assume the same level of skill is present when looking at female gamers their already smaller numbers should leave no one surprised that none of them made it into OWL.
My take on it is that this isn't something that will change just because we're outraged that there are no women playing on OWL rosters. This will need a cultural shift that will most likely take years. There was a comment on a Reddit thread talking about Geguri that I feel illustrated the idea for the most part:
Right now there are no female Overwatch players that I know of that I consider OWL caliber day in, day out. Granted I have very little information on these women in the first place so my line of sight on this is very narrow. I don't see this as a top down problem necessarily, the women that are already competing were able to go past that barrier, and I'm not discounting all the shit they have to deal with on a daily basis (see articles about Geguri for some examples), but getting into, and staying into competitive gaming seems to already be half the battle for women. If OWL is around for long enough it will eventually happen, but it'll probably take more time than some are comfortable with.
So in closing I think the debate isn't about if there should be more women in OWL, or about why there aren't any right now and I've omitted any reference to sexism in my arguments because I don't feel like it's overtly at the root cause of the issue. I think this debate should be about how we can normalize gaming to both sexes to try and eliminate that barrier to entry and hopefully have a more organic representation of people who just like to play the game.