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Austin Held Sexist Training on How to Deal with Women, Outra

Women aren#8217t interested in math, ask a lot of questions and process ideas differently from men.

That#8217s what members of the Austin city council staff heard during a recent training session on how to work with female leaders, which the city manager organized in March after Austin elected a majority female city council (seven women out of 10 members) for the first time in the city#8217s history.

The training, billed as a diversity meeting entitled #8220The Changing Dynamics of Governance: Women Leading in Government,#8221 sparked widespread outrage in the city#8217s government and beyond after it was recently reported in the Austin-American Statesman, shocking the female members of the city council, who had not been invited to attend a meeting that was designed for staff. The training was so offensive that the city removed the video of it from its website, saying in a press release: #8220the training was not consistent with the City#8217s culture, philosophy, and management approach.#8221

Fox#8217s local station in Tampa Bay has a link a snippet of the video, depicting one speaker, Jonathan K. Allen, the city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who has since been fired, saying: #8220If you use or attempt to use the same communication or management techniques that you used or attempted to use in a predominantly male-dominated environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development because they don#8217t process things the same way.#8221

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Allen also said women ask a lot of questions, citing conversations with his 11-year-old daughter, according to the Austin-American Statesman, which broke the story on Tuesday night. #8220My daughter taught me the importance of being patient,#8221 he said, and added that women weren#8217t much interested in financials, paraphrasing female leaders he worked with: ldquoMr. Manager, I donrsquot want to hear about the financial argument, I want to hear about how this impacts the whole community.rdquo

#8220I heard about it last night and was speechless,#8221 Leslie Pool, an Austin city councilwoman, told Fox, adding: #8220Oh math is hard, right. Well I took Qualitative Analysis in my master#8217s degree class at the LBJ School a decade or more ago, and I actually did pretty darn well.#8221

Several female council members addressed the controversy in a press conference held Wednesday.

In a joint response to the controversy over the training session, speakers Jonathan K. Allen and Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart issued a statement published by the Austin-American Statesman: #8220Any interpretation that we do not support and appreciate the growing number of women executives and elected officials in both the public and private sector is absolutely not true.#8221

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