by Sam Levin
Originally published: July 5, 2017
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was “be bold for change” in the fight for a “more gender inclusive world”, but some at Tesla had a different plan for the day.
It was an opportunity for women to discover essential oils. A “health and wellness group” at the electric car company invited female staff members to an 8 March “lunch ‘n learn” about oils and how they can help improve people’s “health and happiness”, according to emails seen by the Guardian, which reveal that the proposed event was quickly met with vocal criticism. It was particularly offensive to some given that a week earlier, AJ Vandermeyden, a female engineer, had publicly accused Elon Musk’s company of sexual harassment and discrimination.
Tesla postponed the oils session. The company organized a town hall on diversity for that day, which included six male executives and one woman, according to multiple attendees. At the crowded meeting at the Fremont factory, one-by-one women took the microphone and shared stories of sexual harassment, mistreatment by male managers, unfair promotion decisions and more, sources said.