A Spanish PR firm has drawn outrage for allegedly rejecting a female applicant on the basis that the role “needed a man who could handle the pace” of working with large companies.
Carla Forcada, a 25-year-old PR executive from Barcelona, applied for the post of account executive with Impulsa Comunicación and was shocked to receive the reply that the job was only open to a male.
“Right now we are in a process of selection but we are looking for a guy because the accounts with which they will work are Carglass and Coca Cola… and believe me, they need a man to handle the pace, the visits, know about production etcetera,” the email read.
After Ms Forcada posted the reply on social media, Coca Cola and other firms said they would no longer be working with the PR agency.
“Incredible that companies still exist that don’t support gender equality in the workplace. Shameful,” she tweeted.
Ms Forcada, who studied marketing and communication and currently manages accounts at another agency, said she was “insulted” by the response.
“I am an account executive and I can do the job as well as any man,” she told the Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia. “I don’t have any disadvantages, my team is all female and we run the agency perfectly.”
Both Coca Cola and Carglass apologised to Ms Forcada and said the company’s response was unacceptable.
Coca Cola’s Spanish division said in a tweet that it was no longer working with Impulsa Comunicación and that it maintained an “inclusive, diverse and equal hiring policy.”
“We are very sorry that our name has been aligned with this discriminatory and unfortunate response," it added.
Carglass said it was "offended" by the response and that it had made its position clear to the PR firm. “Our company promotes gender equality and acts like this do not represent us," it insisted.
After Ms Forcada’s post went viral on Wednesday, she received a further email that afternoon from Impulsa Comunicación suggesting another position might be available to her.
The agency said that after internal discussions they might be able to offer her alternative projects, and asked her to come to the office the following week.
But Ms Forcada said she had not replied to the later offer, adding that the firm had “not even apologised”.
On Thursday she expressed her thanks for the outpouring of support, saying she hoped that "bit by bit these type of cases are being reduced, and that gender equality is achieved not only in the world of work but in all areas."
Impulsa Comunicación’s website was offline yesterday. In statements posted on Twitter, it insisted it did not operate a discriminatory hiring policy and apologised to Ms Forcada, reiterating its offer of another post.
"We are very sorry for this situation, product of a totally unfortunate message written on a bad day," it said.
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