Most people would expect large, well-known, and respected companies to be tactful, aware of its employees’ points of view, and not deliberately shoot themselves in the foot. However, that’s exactly what Ernst & Young did in 2018 June when it held its Power-Presence-Purpose leadership seminar which was marred by controversy due to some of its content.

Ernst & Young was blamed for the ‘sexist’ contents of its seminar during which it was suggested that women absorbed information worse than men, that females shouldn’t show too much skin, and that they should talk to men face-to-face as it may be perceived as acting aggressively. No surprise that the media and the online community were enraged and demanded justice when word got out about EY’s workshop.

Ernst & Young’s 2018 seminar enraged a lot of people when its contents were leaked

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These and other controversial pieces of ‘advice’ were shared with 30 female EY executives during a seminar last Summer at the company’s office in Hoboken, New Jersey. The 55-page-long presentation was leaked to HuffPost by one of the attendees.

During the seminar, women were told how they should talk and act in the workplace

Image credits: EmilyRPeck

During the Power-Presence-Purpose seminar, women’s brains were compared to ‘pancakes,’ while men’s brains were likened to ‘waffles’ (though we’re not quite sure what desserts have to do with anything, I wouldn’t mind it if my brain were compared to a delicious breakfast muffin). All jokes aside, the seminar was using desserts as metaphors to talk about the rate of syrup (i.e. information) absorption based on gender.

Image credits: EmilyRPeck

One of the seminar attendees said that they were told that women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup, so it’s hard for them to focus, while men’s brains were more like waffles: they are supposedly better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.

Image credits: Isabella Carapella / Huffpost

Image credits: Isabella Carapella / Huffpost

What’s more, during the 36.4-billion-dollar company’s seminar, female employees were told how to ‘improve’ themselves by referring to how men and women ‘should’ act based on their gender. Internet users were outraged that different qualities and character features were ascribed to men and women.

However, it seems that EY has learned from the experience: it no longer offers the course “in its current form.” EY also drew attention to the fact that the seminar was created by somebody outside the company, was offered both to men and women, and was launched because some women had requested it. The company said that, in its opinion, media criticism of the seminar was taken out of context, did not represent the full picture of what occurred, and didn’t give significant attention to the women who rated the program well.

During the seminar, women were said to ‘love kids,’ while men were said to have ‘leadership abilities’

Though EY later put out this statement: “There is no question that elements of the program included offensive content that is inconsistent with our core beliefs.”

Dear Pandas, what do you think about what happened? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. And let everyone know if you know any delicious pancake, waffle, or muffin recipes: these desserts are meant for eating, not metaphors.

Here is a leaked video of how one of EY’s employees reacted to the seminar

This is how outraged internet users were

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