Following internal comments by Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser earlier this month about allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination at Activision Blizzard, Nintendo has updated its Corporate Governance document today with a new commitment to “increase the proportion of women in managerial positions” across the company.
The updated document, first spotted by NintendoLife, includes a new section about diversity and inclusion efforts at the company. While Nintendo says it makes hires purely on the basis of “competence and skill,” and doesn’t have “specific targets” for the appointment of women to managerial positions, it will be working to increase the current rates.
Here’s the reasoning:
[A]s a global company engaging in the entertainment business, which is characterised by increasingly diversifying customer needs and preferences, it is essential that we leverage the talents of a diverse workforce. Therefore, we are committed to respecting the personality and strengths of each and every employee, including employees from our overseas subsidiaries, and developing an environment where employees of diverse backgrounds can maximise their potential. As part of these efforts, we are recruiting women and creating an environment in which women can build successful careers.
As part of this pledge, Nintendo also revealed that only 23.7% of managers at the company are women globally, and only 4.2% when you look specifically at Nintendo Co., Ltd in Japan. That’s especially notable since most of the company’s creative development and decision making takes place at its Kyoto headquarters. Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how it would boost those numbers.
The new push around gender diversity in particular comes as Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard continues reckoning with the fallout of a California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination and ongoing reports of misconduct and workplace mistreatment.
The most recent investigation, published earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal, led Bowser and other gaming executives to send internal emails to staff criticising the alleged wrongdoing at the company and its response to it.
“Along with all of you, I’ve been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company,” Bowser told staff in an email. “I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values and policies.”
He also reportedly said that Nintendo, in cooperation with the ESA video game lobbying group, had begun working toward tougher stances against harassment and workplace misconduct across the industry. “As an industry association, the ESA convenes its member companies to create dialogue and shape actions to ensure that these beliefs are realised,” the group told Axios reporter Stephen Totilo in a statement last week when asked to elaborate on any actions it was taking.
While more and more voices have hopped on the very-disturbed-by-Activision-Blizzard-allegations bandwagon, few in positions of power have offered any specifics about what they’ll do to change things moving forward, including at their own companies.