Intel pledges $300M to bolster women, minority workforce in wake of GamerGate

Chipmaker Intel announced at CES today that it plans to invest $300 million to support diversity and inclusivity at the company, and to actively support hiring and retaining more women and under-represented minorities as part of a “Diversity in Technology” initiative. As part of Intel’s initiative, the company plans to fund programs that support “more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries.”

The announcement from Intel comes after the company found itself inadvertently caught up in the GamerGate harassment campaign last year.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the Diversity in Technology initiative at the company’s CES keynote in Las Vegas today, saying, “It’s not good enough to say we value diversity, and then have our industry not fully represent” the women and minorities in Intel’s talent pool.

“This isn’t just good business. This is the right thing to do.”

As part of its effort, Intel says it’s working with industry partners to “support, enhance or create new programs.” Some of the announced partners include the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the eSports League (ESL), the National Center for Women in Technology, Feminist Frequency, Girls Who Code, Rainbow PUSH and the Cybersmile Foundation.

In a release, Intel acknowledged “a recent confluence of events related to women and under-represented minorities.” During his CES keynote, Krzanich himself referenced online harassment efforts that targeted women and minorities.

Intel became attached to the GamerGate harassment campaign after it pulled advertising from game industry site Gamasutra last year. The chipmaker had been targeted by a campaign against Gamasutra and its editor-at-large Leigh Alexander, who had been critical of gamer culture, leading Intel to temporarily withdraw ads. That decision led to criticism that Intel was endorsing anti-feminist bullying.

“We recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community,” Intel said in a statement at the time. “That was not our intent, and that is not the case. When it comes to our support of equality and women, we want to be very clear: Intel believes men and women should be treated the same.

“And, diversity is an integral part of our corporate strategy and vision with commitments to improve the diversity of our workforce,” Intel continued. “And while we respect the right of individuals to have their personal beliefs and values, Intel does not support any organization or movement that discriminates against women. We apologize and we are deeply sorry if we offended anyone.”

Intel’s new Diversity in Technology campaign pledges to achieve “full representation of women and under-represented minorities” at the company by 2020. Full representation, Intel says, means its U.S. workforce will be “more representative of the talent available in America, including more balanced representation in senior leadership positions.”