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Intel unveils aggressive plans to increase diversity and inclusion in tech with $300M initiative

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has unveiled a US$300 million diversity initiative aimed at making his company diverse from top to bottom. It is no secret that the tech industry hasn’t done the best job at attracting women in the past few years, especially when it comes to placing them in positions of leadership. The announcement by Intel is therefore very important. If gender diversity is to be addressed in tech, it needs to extend beyond mere discussions. In recent months, gender inequality has shown its ugly side with the recent backlash against female gamers and game programmers.

Making the announcement, Krzanich said that “It’s not enough to say we value diversity”, unless his company and the industry fully represent women and minorities.

He also noted the many diversity reports from major technology companies that tell a sad reality of the patriarchy that has infiltrated tech. He pointed out that in addition to the gender inequality, there remains serious racial inequality, with tech still dominated by white males.

“It’s time for us to step up and do more,” Krzanich told the audience.

Intel has outlined aggressive plans under this new diversity plan. The company will have full representation in all levels of Intel’s workforce by 2020, perform regularly measure, and report on progress toward this goal and hold company leaders accountable by tying their pay to the progress toward this goal.

The second important part of Intel’s plan is its US$300 million Diversity Initiative Fund, designed to encourage the broader representation of woman and minorities in technology and gaming.

“I’m an engineer and I believe that you only solve problems by setting aggressive goals. So as we sat and thought about, how are we really going to solve this problem? We decided to set a goal. We don’t know how to get there, but we’ve set a goal, made a commitment and now, as engineers, we have to go solve all the problems.” Krzanich said.

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Outlining the Diversity Initiative Fund, Krzanich explained that “It’s $300 million from Intel that we’re going to commit and it’s going to go to everything from investing in minority — and women-owned companies that can help promote technology, women and minority gaming developers, universities that are going to drive more women and minorities into technology and lastly, just actually, developing up front more cash to support new initiatives, new companies, new startups that are owned and run by women and minorities.”

The fund is also not confined to technology.

“If we think it will help the overall process and overall goal of achieving parity, yes. It doesn’t have to be just about technology, but it’s about getting women, getting minorities, into that workplace,” Krzanich said.

This initiative, as important as it is, will not alone deal with the gender inequality in tech but it will definitely be a glimmer of hope for women who have been looking for a way into tech, and it will do so directly or by doing the simplest of things, inspiring women to find tech attractive.

Author | Myolisi Sikupela: Staff Reporter

Myolisi Sikupela: Staff Reporter
Myolisi Sikupela was born in the Transkei in the village of Zikhovane. He is interested in the politics of technology. More