A training course given at the Hoboken branch of a global professional services firm has been sharply criticized for allegedly trafficking in gender stereotypes advising women to behave passively so as not to threaten male co-workers and even suggested that "female brains" are less effective at staying on task, The Huffington Post reported.
Ernst & Young hired consultant Marsha Clark to provide the training in June 2018 to help women employees build networks and to develop negotiating skills. The description of the training was provided by "Jane," a pseudonym used by an employee who took the training and has since left the company.
Jane also shared training materials with HuffPo in which women are advised not to "flaunt your body" because "sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women)." The advice made Jane feel "like a piece of meat," she told HuffPo.
Other training materials urged women to demonstrate stereotypical feminine qualities, such as being "affectionate," "childlike" and "yielding," but made no mention of leadership qualities in training that was supposed to help women become leaders within the company, Jane also said.
Women were also urged not to confront men face-to-face, which they see as threatening, nor to be too aggressive.
Women's brains were also compared to "pancakes" that absorb everything, hampering their ability to focus, while men's brains were described as "waffles" made of up little waffle squares and therefore better able to compartmentalize. The section also noted that women's brains are smaller than men's, but does not mention that differences in brain size don't correspond with intelligence.
The company said the seemingly problematic material about the training was taken out of context. HUffPo also noted that a number of women who took the training described it in positive terms on their LinkedIn profiles.
“We are proud of our long-standing commitment to women and deeply committed to creating and fostering an environment of inclusivity and belonging at EY, anything that suggests the contrary is 100% false,” the firm said in a statement to HuffPost.
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