E&Y course tries to tame women employees, says female brain is like pancake

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E&Y course tries to tame women employees, says female brain is like pancake

Do not flaunt your body because sexuality scrambles the mind. Speak briefly as women often ramble and miss the point. Do not confront men in meetings in order to not threaten him but to rather talk to him in private. When having a conversation with a man, cross your legs and sit at an angle to him. Do not talk face-to-face to men as it threatens them. Maintain a ‘good haircut’ and only wear clothes that complement the body.

According to reports in HuffPost and News18, these are some of the terribly misogynistic instructions provided to around 30 women employees by Ernst & Young during a training programme called Power-Presence-Purpose (PPP) at its office in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 2018.

And there is more.

The training programme also claimed that women’s brains are 6-11% smaller than those of men. It said that “women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup, so it’s hard for them to focus”. However, male brains were more like waffles that were “better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square”.

And there is still more.

The women employees were also reportedly asked to fill out a questionnaire of so-called masculine and feminine traits. While the former included traits like ‘acting like a leader’, being ‘aggressive’, ‘self-reliant’, ‘competitive’, ‘athletic’, and ‘dominant’, the latter included traits like being ‘cheerful’, ‘child-like’, ‘affectionate’, ‘shy’, and ‘eager to soothe hurt feelings’ among others. Interestingly, in what can be considered the height of misogyny, ‘femininity’ was also a trait listed under the section on ‘feminine characteristics’.

The women had to score themselves on each of the traits to see how feminine or masculine they were. These questionable and downright offensive techniques were devised to fit women into a space dominated by men. The training was imparted in the form of a 55-page presentation during a seminar on leadership and empowerment. It took place in the aftermath of the Me Too movement. Ernst & Young wasn’t untouched by the Me Too movement and had to fire an employee for sexual misconduct. The force of the Me Too movement compelled large organisations like E&Y to overhaul their sexual harassment policies and training.

The contents of the programme created massive outrage on social media with many terming them as ‘rage-inducing’ and ‘sick’.

When contacted, E&Y said that the PPP course is under review and the June workshop was the last time that version of training was held. The course “is no longer offered in its current form”, the company said.

Notably, only 20.4% of the principals and partners of E&Y are women while only 12% are employed as client service partners with the firm.

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