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Blizzard to launch "global diversity and inclusion initiative"

Mike Morhaime wants to raise number of women and "under-represented minority groups" working at the company

Blizzard will start an initiative to improve diversity in its workforce, with the first goal being to raise the proportion of female employees above 21%.

In an email obtained by Kotaku, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said that the amount of women working at the company was in line with the games industry as a whole, but that it would actively seek to improve the ratio. Morhaime also noted that, "[women] leave our organization at a higher rate than men."

To achieve this, Blizzard will launch a "global diversity and inclusion initiative," which will initially address the ratio of male to female employees, and expand later this year to the "under-represented minority groups" who make up 14% of the company's workforce. Morhaime said it would avoid hiring "quotas," instead focusing on building relationships with conferences, universities and organisations like Girls Who Code.

"Our diversity initiative will require a commitment from every one of us, but especially from our leaders, managers, and hiring teams," Morhaime said. "We appreciate your dedication to help Blizzard achieve this goal."

There's more detail about Blizzard's plans in Kotaku's report, but this isn't the only evidence of the company's commitment on diversity. Blizzard has been the subject of criticism for sexualising female characters in the past, but broadly speaking it has taken a progressive stance in both its messaging and its games.

Blizzard was among the first studios to speak out against President Trump's immigration ban, and its most recent hit, Overwatch, is notable for the diversity of its characters, and its increasingly hardline stance on negative influencers within its community.

"The goal was open-mindedness and inclusivity, where diversity was the beautiful end result," said Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan at the DICE Summit this year. "We wanted to create a world where everyone was welcome."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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