Key Words: Ernst & Young to its female workers: Careful, ‘sexuality scrambles the mind’

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‘Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.’

That little nugget came from an Ernst & Young training session, not in 1952, but last year, according to the HuffPost.

Also, women’s clothing must flatter but not be too revealing because, of course, “sexuality scrambles the mind.” What’s more, the fairer sex should look healthy and fit, with a “good haircut” and “manicured nails.”

These were all bits of advice reportedly given to some 30 female executives in the accounting firm’s new office in Hoboken, N.J., in June 2018, an attendee who was appalled by the presentation told the HuffPost.

The seminar took place a few months after Ernst & Young settled a discrimination complaint filed by Jessica Casucci, a partner at the firm who said she was sexually assaulted years before by a male partner. She complained internally, but the man was fired only after her complaints went public.

Ernst & Young told the HuffPost that the event was the last time that version of training, which was created by someone outside of the company, was held and it “is no longer offered in its current form.”

“Any isolated aspects are taken wholly out of context,” the company said in a statement, adding that participants in the seminar rated it highly.

Here are just a couple excerpts from the program:

There’s so much more.

On a long list of “invisible rules” for men and women, the presentation says women often “speak briefly” and “often ramble and miss the point” in meetings, whereas men will “speak at length because he really believes in his idea.”

Here are some other notes that the source took during her time at the seminar: 1) Don’t confront men at meetings because it’s perceived as a threat. 2) When a woman talks to a man, she should cross her legs and sit at an angle to him. 3) Women’s brains are 6% to 11% smaller than men’s.

“You have to be the stereotype of what a woman is,” the source said, explaining that she’s sharing this information in hopes Ernst & Young will change. “You have to offer your thoughts in a benign way. You have to be the perfect Stepford wife.”

As part of a problem facing the broader accounting industry, the HuffPost pointed out that women comprise only 12% of Ernst & Young’s lead client service partners, and that, overall, only 20.4% of the company’s partners and principals are women.

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