PwC investigates emails rating female employees

Sexist emails originated in Dublin office, went viral in days
||Last Updated: 12/07/2010

Internal emails from the Dublin office of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) rating new female hires based on their looks went viral and made their way around the Internet.

The firm is investigating the incident and taking the matter "extremely seriously," said Ronan Murhpy, a senior partner with the accountancy firm, in an email to Irish clients and alumni.

“We are taking all of the necessary steps and actions in accordance with the firm’s policies and procedures,” PwC spokeswoman Johanna Dehaene told the Irish Times.

The executives met with the 13 women who were the subject of the emails and told them they had the full support of the firm, said Dehaene.

The email, with photos of 10 female graduates who had recently joined the firm, was initially shared on Oct. 26 among a group of 15 male colleagues in the Dublin office with the comment: "This would be my shortlist for the top 10."

One reply to the email was: "Great Work, have reservations about the last one getting in."

The next morning, another email went out to the same group and an additional two male colleagues with the message: “Lads, a couple added and also departments.”

Later that morning, one of the recipients forwarded the new email with the photographs of 13 women and their departments to another three male colleagues in the firm as well as to several men in other financial services businesses in Dublin. This email included a crude term describing the women.

From there, the email went viral and spread around the city. It was picked up by various Irish news outlets on Nov. 10. Other outlets in Canada, the United States and India picked it up on Nov. 11.

The firm first became aware of the email on Nov. 9, said Murphy in a statement.

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