Activision fails to increase representation of women: diversity report



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Video game publisher Activision Blizzard failed to increase its representation of women in the first quarter of 2022, according to a diversity report it released on Thursday.

Executives have pledged to make women more pervasive inside the company after media reports described cases of harassment of women, prompting government investigations.

Microsoft, an Activision Blizzard competitor and partner, began talks to acquire the game publisher after the reports pushed down the game publisher’s stock price. Microsoft is working to resolve regulatory concerns about the deal, and in January executives said they still expect to close the $69 billion acquisition by the end of June.

Of Activision Blizzard’s full-time employees in the first quarter of 2022, 24% were women, consistent with the percentage for all of 2021, the new report said. In 2021 the company set a goal to reach 35% by 2025. The number of entry-level women ticked down to 28% from 29% in 2021.

The company showed gains in other measurements. The percentage of female vice presidents rose to 25% from 23%, and 30% of new hires were women, up from 29%.

“I couldn’t be more passionate and committed to being the most performance-focused, welcoming, and inclusive company in entertainment,” Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, told analysts on a 2021 conference call, which followed an agreement with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission to strengthen policies to reduce harassment and discrimination.

Activision Blizzard started using startup Textio’s software to help make job descriptions more inclusive and gender-neutral, revising over 5,500 listings in 2022 with the tool, Kristen Hines, whom Activision Blizzard appointed as its first chief diversity equity and inclusion officer last year, wrote in a Thursday blog post.

“We’ll continue to measure the impact of these changes, as we’re confident this work will contribute to our goal of becoming the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry,” Hines wrote. “We also believe this will help us meet the commitment we made in 2021 to increase the percentage of women and non-binary employees by 50% over five years.”

Microsoft has been trying to boost the presence of women for years and has made progress in technical and leadership roles. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft’s gaming division, said at a Wall Street Journal event in October that “we have to make sure teams feel safe, feel included, feel heard, where they can do their best work.” In November Microsoft committed to updating its policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

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