PwC to investigate ‘sexist email’ scandal

11 Nov 2010

One of the largest accountancy firms in Ireland is to investigate how male workers were able to compile an email “top 10” of young female workers who had just joined the firm. Alarm bells started ringing when the email chain went viral around the world.

It has emerged that a group of male workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) began grading the attractiveness of female colleagues, many of whom had just joined the firm from some of the country’s most elite universities.

It is understood a series of emails were sent to a group of male employees with pictures of as many as 13 of the young women, along with derogatory comments.


Senior management at the firm, which employs 2,000 people in Ireland, is taking the matter seriously and an investigation is under way.

The emails were circulated between a group of up to 17 male members of PwC’s staff and eventually found their way out to the wider business world and went viral.

The initial email, written at the end of October, was entitled: “This would be my shortlist for the top 10.”

The women had recently joined the firm as first-year accountancy trainees who will spend up to three to four years at the firm.

A spokesperson for the company told Silicon Republic how senior management were appalled at the actions of what are understood to be junior male members of staff.

“We first became aware of this matter on Monday evening,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We are taking it extremely seriously and have commenced a full investigation. We are taking all of the necessary steps and actions in accordance with the Firm’s policies and procedures.

“Our main concern is the impact of this on the women who were the subject of these emails. We met with them earlier yesterday to give them all of the support they may need in dealing with this.

“We are particularly concerned at the compounding effect of the publication of the womens’ photographs in some of the papers this morning and last evening..

“PwC regrets this situation as it has always required its people to adhere to the highest level of standards in their conduct and behaviour,” the company said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years