‘Rage-Inducing’: Sexist Ernst & Young Seminar Draws Women’s Reactions

Topline: An Ernst & Young training presentation unearthed Monday by HuffPost that told female executives their brains were 6% to 11% smaller than men’s, and that short skirts were inappropriate because “sexuality scrambles the mind” (among many other sexist tropes), drew rage and resignation across social media (see examples, below).

Crucial quote: Another reportedly sexist part of the training featured a breakfast food comparison: “Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus, the attendees were told. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.”

Key background: Ernst & Young told HuffPost that the 2018 training, intended for professional development and networking, was under review, “is no longer offered in its current form,” and “any isolated aspects are taken wholly out of context.” But HuffPost reported that a little over 20% of Ernst & Young’s partners are women, and that accounting firms lack women in senior roles across the industry. When it comes to advancing women up the corporate ladder, researchers have found that the effort needs to be made across an organization, and not just on the part of individual employees.

Tangent: HuffPost reported that a few months before the training, Ernst & Young was mired in a #MeToo scandal. Company partner Jessica Cascucci had accused a fellow male partner of of sexual assault, which resulted in a settlement, and then his firing⁠—after Cascucci went public.












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I'm a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: G

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