Disturbing Study Highlights Obscene Weight Discrimination Against Women At Work
12:45 pm, August 6th | by Amy Tennery
There’s ample evidence to show women face weight discrimination at work in ways men just don’t. Women who weigh more than “average” earn less far less than similarly employed, slimmer women, while the inverse is true for guys. And the odds are stacked against us even before we’re hired — another recent study showed obese women are less likely to to land a job than their non-obese counterparts, even when their credentials are the same.
Put simply, women who weigh more tend to earn less, and there’s plenty of proof that discrimination is to blame.
As though this weren’t bad enough, another new study shows that overweight and obese women also struggle to garner promotions, even after they have their feet in the door.
While 45 percent to 61 percent of male CEOs at top U.S. firms are overweight, just 5 percent to 22 percent of female CEOs are, according to the report from researchers at Michigan State University and Hope College, which Forbes first reported. And while the study shows that 5 percent of both male and female CEOs are obese (far below the national averages for both), the numbers indicate that overweight men have an easier road to the executive suite than women.
Where is this discrimination coming from? While you could try to write this trend off as a numbers issue — there are fewer female CEOs, therefore a smaller sample size — the overwhelming data shows that overweight women face a tougher climb to the top. And this is far from the first study show women face weight bias in everyday life, even before they enter the clinically obese weight range.
A 2008 study showed women experience forms of weight discrimination starting at a BMI of 27 — for men, that doesn’t start until a BMI of 35, according to the New York Times. The CDC puts obesity at a range of 30 BMI or higher. There’s a societal bias that’s seeping into the office — and it’s poisoning the workplace.