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By | Kieren McCarthy 7th January 2015 21:03

Intel offers big bucks for black women

CEO pledges $300m and exec pay tied to new diversity goals

CES 2015 Intel will tie executives' pay to their ability to bring more women and minorities into its workforce, CEO Brian Krzanich said in his CES keynote on Tuesday evening.

He announced the chip giant will set aside $300m over the next five years to achieve equal representation "at all levels" within the company by 2020 – ensuring there's a fair mix of men and women of all colors on staff.

Leaving the announcement to the end of his hour-long presentation, Krzanich made an explicit reference to GamerGate when he noted that "threats and harassments that have characterized debate in the gaming world" had "brought this issue to the center stage."

"It's time to step up and do more," said Krzanich, whose was dragged into GamerGate when Intel caved into pressure and pulled ads from website Gamasutra after it published articles critical of sexism in the gaming world and wider tech industry.

Combined with this and the "publication of statistics on hiring data and diversity," Intel would henceforth "lead by example" with its Center of Diversity in Technology. The company will measure progress on its goal of full diversity and regularly report "with full transparency," according to Krzanich. "It's not good enough to say 'we value diversity' and then have our workplaces not reflect the full talent-pool of women and underrepresented minorities," he argued.

The $300m will be spent on three areas: "Grow Intel's diverse population; fund initiatives to support more participation and positive representation of women and under-represented minorities in technology and gaming; and increase the pipeline of women and diverse candidates entering the technology field."

"This isn't just good business, this is the right thing to do," he said.

The news comes after a year in which the tech industry was repeatedly criticized for its white-male predominance. Silicon Valley's "tech bro" culture produced some of the worst examples, with both Tinder and Zillow former employees suing for sexual harassment and an Uber exec threatening to expose the private life of a female journalist who criticized it.

Countless gaming companies were implicated in Gamergate. And even the big tech companies were not immune when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told a room full of women working in tech that they shouldn't ask for a pay raise but should instead rely on "karma."

In response to that Microsoft released some stats that showed it was not completely dominated by white men. Just nearly dominated. Nadella said he would "redouble" the Microsoft's efforts to ensure equal pay and greater diversity.

But Intel's announcement will undoubtedly increase pressure on tech businesses to literally put their money where their mouths are.

See Krzanich's full four-minute announcement in the keynote. It starts 1hr 3 mins in. ®

Bootnote

Krzanich also used his CES speech to tease a 32-bit Quark-microcontroller-powered gadget called the Intel Curie [PDF], and a PC-in-a-HDMI-stick dubbed the Compute Stick, both due out some time in 2015.

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