It is a wonderful time to be an ambitious woman. The corporate world really is your oyster as long as you lean in and learn the rules of interacting with men in the workplace. These rules can, admittedly, be a little intricate to navigate – particularly when you are burdened with a smaller and more pancake-like brain than a man – but some forward-thinking companies are giving their female employees a helping hand.
Take EY, for example, a multinational accountancy firm which describes its purpose as “building a better working world”. According to a report by HuffPo, EY offered a women’s leadership training last year, called Power-Presence-Purpose, which offered up empowering pearls of wisdom like this:
– Women’s brains absorb information in the same way pancakes absorb syrup, making it hard for them to focus. Meanwhile, male brains are like waffles; information collects neatly in each little waffle square.
– Women’s brains are 6% to 11% smaller than men’s.
– Women should not directly confront men in meetings or talk to a man face-to-face, because men find it threatening.
– Women should ensure they have a “good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type”.
– While women should “signal fitness and wellness” they shouldn’t flaunt their body. “Sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”
– Women should phrase their thoughts and ideas as questions.
– Women often ramble, so should make sure to speak briefly.
The training presentation, I regret to inform you, did not take that last piece of advice to heart and consists of 55 pages of this nonsense.
After HuffPo first broke the story, EY defended the program and dug up a few alumni who said they had found it extremely helpful. It seems that EY has changed tack, however. The company now says it has cancelled the training, which was delivered by a (woman-run) firm called Marsha Clark & Associates. “There is no question that elements of the program included offensive content that is inconsistent with our core beliefs,” EY said in a statement on Monday.
I think there two key takeaways to be had from this sorry corporate saga. The first is that sexism is alive and well. The second is that you can apparently stick any old BS into a powerpoint deck, give it an alliterative name, and sell it to a multinational accountancy firm for a healthy profit.
Bearing that in mind I would like to seize this moment with my manicured nails and present a free sample of my new corporate training program:
Grace-Grit-Gratitude: impactful and inspiring leadership tips to help men win in the workplace
– Men are like muffins: nobody really wants more than one in a meeting. If there are multiple men in a meeting you should appoint one person the Token Speaking Man and ensure he keeps his contribution as succinct and clear as possible.
– Men are like cinna-buns: they can have a very overpowering scent. Keep your cologne professional so as not to distract the ladies.
– Men are like croissants: they can be very flaky. Keep your thoughts on track by writing them down in neat little lists.
– Men’s brains are like bagels: missing a core component. They are just not cut out for leadership in the same way women are. Nevertheless, with enough training they can occasionally make an important contribution.
– Men are like bialys: depressed in the middle. Make an effort to smile more and help brighten up the workplace.
Like I said, this is just a free sample. I’ve got 55 more pages of this.
EY, I am waiting for your call. I cannot wait to put our pancake and waffle brains together and build a batter for a better working world.