In late 2019, we learned that EY thinks women are a bunch of dumb sluts who need to be told to cover up the goods in a professional setting, so much so that a day-and-a-half long “leadership seminar” held at the firm’s Hoboken office in 2018 focused intently on this bit (er, their bits?). HuffPo were the ones to break the story, and wrote about it thusly:
One section of the document is devoted to women’s appearance: Be “polished,” have a “good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type,” it states on Page 36. But then, a warning: “Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”
The most important thing women can do is “signal fitness and wellness,” the presentation continues.
What everyone remembers about this story is not the part where they dedicated a good part of the day to telling grown ass professional women to do their hair but rather the part where the women attending this seminar — all of whom were women in leadership positions at EY — were told that women’s brains are 6% to 11% smaller than men’s brains, and that “women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus.” Men are the lucky ones though, their brains are like waffles, where the good stuff melts in and pools in all the little genius nooks and crannies of their big ole brains. Seriously. EY paid someone to say this in a training to 30 of its best and brightest women.
Well, it seems EY isn’t going to be able to weasel their way out of this one without consequences. I guess telling HuffPo “any isolated aspects are taken wholly out of context” in a statement wasn’t enough.
NJ.com reported this week that the big brains at EY have reached a deal with the state of New Jersey to correct this behavior the best way they know how: with money.
A global professional services firm has agreed to pay New Jersey $100,000 and establish a $500,000 scholarship program in response to a sexist training video for women executives it between 2015 and 2019.
The agreement — between EY, formerly Ernst and Young, and the state Division on Civil Rights — resolves the investigation of whether the company violated the state Law Against Discrimination (LAD) by providing many of its female employees — including those in Hoboken and Secaucus ― with training based on outdated gender stereotypes.
Did someone say “outdated gender stereotypes”? Lest we forget.
The $500,000 scholarship’s intended purpose is “to increase opportunities for employment in the accounting and finance industry for women and other populations underrepresented in the industry,” writes NJ.com.
“Training programs that perpetuate gender stereotypes and present faulty science as fact can harm employees, exacerbate gender inequities, and stigmatize employees who do not conform to gender stereotypes,” said Aaron Scherzer, Chief of Strategic Initiatives and Enforcement at the Division on Civil Rights. “The robust and forward-thinking provisions in this agreement with Ernst & Young reflect DCR’s commitment to rooting out discrimination in workplaces across New Jersey.”
Meanwhile, EY has promised to ensure this never happens again through training (uh, might want to have someone at the Division on Civil Rights check it out first) and policy reforms, and to make sure said policies comply with the state’s Law Against Discrimination. Additionally, all EY employees who live or work in New Jersey will be required to take a course that “focuses on gender equity, implicit bias, anti-discrimination and cultural competency” once a year for the next three years.
Obviously there are some waffle brains over at the DCR who came up with those ideas, no way could a woman have decided anti-discrimination training might counter distinctly discriminatory behavior at a naughty accounting firm. Good thing their female colleagues covered themselves up long enough not to distract them so they could come up with it.