Thursday, 09 Apr, 2009 Offbeat

Obese Women Find It Harder to Climb Career Ladder than Obese Men


According to a research overweight women can have problems with climbing their carrier ladder. At the same time there's no such problem for obese men. The findings suggest that even today female workers are judged more by their looks rather than their abilities.

This the first study to focus on the impact of weight on career progression at the highest level of management. The research found that there were much less overweight women among company management, in contrast to a large number of obese men occupying top positions in companies.

According to the lead-researcher Mark Roehling, who carried out the study at Michigan State University, in the U.S., the results of the research showed that both obese men and women find it hard to climb the career ladder. However, being merely obese has a negative effect only on women and it might have a positive effect on men. "There is a tendency to hold women to harsher weight standards," he said.

The research and its results were published in British journal Equal Opportunities International. In the study, Roehling and his team analyzed 29 previous research papers containing information about hiring, promotion and firing practices. He found that in UK 61 percent of men, who held top position, were obese, while in US this figure is much lower, reaching 41 percent. As for women, there were only 22 percent of female executives who were categorized as obese, the figure being less than in US, where it reached 29 percent.

During the study, researchers also discovered that employees suffering from obesity were regularly stereotyped as "possessing negative personality traits", and "emotionally impaired". Quite often these workers were considered to be lazy and dirty. But the most negative reactions were addressed towards overweight female workers.

A survey carried out in UK in 2007 showed that 93 percent of human resources professionals were more likely to offer the job to the thinner candidate if there were to choose between two persons with the same abilities. Statistics also show that overweight women usually are paid less that the slim ones.

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