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HeForShe wants gamers to commit to gender equality

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HeForShe wants gamers to be committed to gender equality.

HeForShe is the United Nations-backed campaign that made a huge splash in 2014. That’s when actress Emma Watson gave her now-famous speech that gender equality isn’t a woman’s issue — it’s everybody’s issue.

Since then, HeForShe has been working with executives, government leaders, and heads of state to commit to addressing gender equality within their own organizations, communities and industries.

Now, HeForShe is getting into a different kind of partnership: One with EA Games(EA, Tech30) to target its users.

The gaming company has more than 300 million players around the world. On Sunday, it launched an in-game challenge in Star Wars Battlefront at its EA PLAY events in London and Los Angeles. The goal? To encourage gamers to commit to HeForShe’s pledge, which states, “I will take action against gender bias, discrimination and violence to bring the benefits of equality to us all.”

Related: Ellen Pao’s book to cover her battles with bias

“We’re really trying to move beyond the traditional audience and traditional outreach. We recognize that the solutions to end inequality are not always going to come from that,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, who heads up the HeForShe campaign at the UN.

“The gaming industry is a huge, influential platform where men and boys are. It’s quite exciting for us,” she added.

The launch was part of a larger EA charity campaign called Play to Give. HeForShe is one of five organizations that are part of it. All focus on inclusiveness: Code.org, Code2040, Special Effect and National Center for Women & IT.

EA Games said it will donate a total of $1 million to the five organizations.

It’s an important step for an industry that has earned a reputation as being hostile to women.

“Not only is this important in terms of getting men on board to commit to actions that support gender equality, but we hope that within our lifetime we’re able to create change,” said David Kim, head of global diversity at EA Games.

A McKinsey study found it will take more than 100 years to achieve gender parity in U.S. corporations. Both EA Games and HeForShe hope to accelerate that. HeForShe has had nearly 790,000 men commit, a turn of phrase that Nyamayaro said is purposeful, given the commonly-cited belief that men are afraid of commitment.

CNNMoney (New York) First published June 13, 2016: 9:52 AM ET

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