Intel’s offices in Petah Tikva: Intel Israel accounts for a fifth of the country’s high-tech exports..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Intel on Tuesday announced an ambitious plan to ensure proportional representation of women and underrepresented minorities in all levels of management in the US by 2020, and said it will invest $300 million to promote the initiative.
"We're calling on our industry to again make the seemingly impossible possible by making a commitment to real change and clarity in our goals," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during his keynote address to the Consumer Electonics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. "Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers."
Intel Israel, while pledging to increase women's hiring, has not yet signed onto the same goal.
The new Diversity in Technology initiative will tie managers pay to the diversity goals, and aims to increase the hiring, retentions and progressions of women in the company. It will also fund computer science scholarships in computer science and engineering, boost education in under-served areas, increase outreach to historically black colleges and universities, and work with universities to increase enrollment in relevant fields.
In 2013, 24% of Intel employees in the US were women, but just one of its six senior officials were and just under a third of its mid-level managers were.
Intel Israel's statistics were similar, though it was slightly ahead of the curve on the management. Though women comprised just 22% of Intel Israel's overall workforce in 2013, they represented 30% of its upper management, and 50% of the management at its Kiryat Gat plant. Intel Israel also has a women, CEO Maxine Fassberg, at its helm.
Intel Israel has several policies to boost women in it ranks. It offers flexible work hours and the option to work from home for parents, which helps both mothers and fathers care for children. It offers daycare and summer camp options, and has succeeded in reducing the attrition rate of women after they give birth from 21% to 3% by allowing a gradual return to work over the course of a year.
Regarding minorities, Intel is the largest high-tech employer of Arabs, though it will not say how many, and employs 200 ultra-Orthodox. For a company that employs nearly 10,000 people in Israel, that is a far cry from equal representation (ultra-Orthodox comprise roughly 10% of Israel's population), but is significant given the low labor participation rate of haredi men and lack of marketable skills in the community.
In comparison, women represented 35.6% of all high-tech workers in Israel in 2013, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Throughout the economy, women were half as likely to be managers as men, representing just 32.6% of all managers.
One of the goals Intel set in its US initiative has been to double the number of women working in gaming by 2025 through donations to the International Game Developers Association Foundation.
The topic of women in gaming has caused a stir in the multi-billion dollar gaming industry in the past year in part due to work by Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist video game critic.
Her work, which she posts in a web series called Feminist Frequency, points out recurring themes and tropes in games she finds disturbing; women are frequently used in stories as sexual objects and prizes with no agency of their own, and their role in video game plotlines frequently serve as a means to an ends for the male main character, whose job is to rescue or avenge helpless damsel.
Her critiques have aroused disturbing responses online, ranging from sexual harassment to death threats. One of the problems, she notes, was that despite significant numbers of female gamers, the vast majority of the programmers were male. The issue received coverage in the New York Times
and made the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, and Sarkeesian was even a guest on The Colbert Report.
Among its initiatives, Intel announced that it would support Feminist Frequency's production of future videos on the treatment of women in video games.