Around 30 female executives at Ernst & Young received a number of absolutely outrageous “instructions” at a training held in the accounting giant’s new office in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 2018. The instructions were ranging from things like: “When women speak, they shouldn’t be shrill”, to “clothing must flatter, but short skirts are a no-no”. Oh, and the advice was for women to have a “good haircut” and “manicured nails”.
An attendee of the day-and-a-half seminar reportedly gave HuffPost the 55-page presentation that was used during the seminar on leadership and empowerment, and the attendee was appalled by its contents. The presentation is, reportedly, full of out-of-touch advice, and the presentation focused on how women need to fix themselves to fit into a male-dominated workplace.
The training was called Power-Presence-Purpose (PPP), and it took place during the rise of the #MeToo movement. In response to that, large businesses, including EY, shored up their harassment policies and training.
Even though EY, one of the largest accounting companies in the world with over $36.4 billion in global revenue and 270,000 employees, had a public #MeToo accusation just a few months before the seminar, the June 2018 event did not touch any of these topics. The focus of the seminar was on self-improvement for women.
HuffPost inquired about the training in October of this year, and EY reportedly said that the course had been under review for months and that the June 2018 event was the last time that version of the training was held at the company and that the course “is no longer offered in its current form”.
Reportedly, EY told HuffPost that the training was just one of the many offered by the company to men and women, and it was actually created by someone outside the company – “an external vendor”.
The company told HuffPost that it disagrees with the way the content of the seminar is characterized in the story, however, and said in a statement that “any isolated aspects are taken wholly out of context”. To add to that, the company said that it reviewed the evaluations of women who participated in the program and found that they rated it highly.