Twenty-one percent of Blizzard’s employees are women. It’s a ratio that’s in-line with industry standards—but the Overwatch and Hearthstone developer wants to change that.
A “global diversity and inclusion initiative” will be launched at Blizzard, according to an internal email acquired by Kotaku.
The diversity push will focus on women first, then expand to include “under represented minority groups,” Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said in the email. There won’t be quotas for hiring women. Instead, Blizzard will look to its employees to refer more women to open positions, as well as improve its recruiting avenues. Likewise, the company wants to make Blizzard a more welcome place for women and minority groups who already work there. Women, in particular, leave Blizzard “at a higher rate than men,” Morhaime said.
Blizzard recently created a women’s council—it already had an LGBTQ council, Morhaime said. The council has monthly meetings where women advise on Blizzard projects and “think through ideas to attract more women and make Blizzard a more rewarding and enjoyable place for women to work.”
Kotaku also outlined Blizzard’s more “concrete” steps in “enhanc[ing] inclusiveness for those who identify as women.” Networking sessions, mentoring groups, a women’s summit, and “improved bias training” are among those initiatives.
Blizzard has gained notoriety for its hero-based shooter Overwatch’s diversity—in particular, for it’s hero pool full of diverse, full characters. Not only does Overwatch introduce a number of female heroes, there’s diversity in regards to race and body type, too. The game has received its fair share of criticism though. Early on in the game’s development, Blizzard upset fans with a Tracer “butt pose,” which was later removed from the game.
Though it’s more a problem of online gaming in general, toxicity in Overwatch is rampant. A lot of that vitriol is slung at women, despite there being a fairly large female player base. More women at Blizzard is likely to be a plus for women playing Overwatch and other Blizzard titles: Representation will spread outward to impact players, too.