We all know women lose out in the employment stakes. There is a gender gap in payment. There is a gender gap in women being hired for executive roles. There is a gender gap in women being hired full stop.
We also know there is discrimination around weight in employment. A 2009 study found overweight individuals may be disadvantaged in career outcomes, including hiring and performance reviews, compared to average weight individuals.
New research, however, has shown just a few kilograms can make a huge difference – particularly if you’re a woman.
The study, conducted by a team of Scottish and Canadian researchers and published in Plos One this month, found you don’t have to be clinically overweight to face discrimination.
And that, particularly for women, just a few kilograms could be the difference between landing that job and remaining unemployed. Think about it: just a few kilograms overweight.
That’s right, it’s discrimination within discrimination. Another ugly gender gap means ‘heavier’ women are the group of people least likely to be hired.
“Especially for women, being heavier, but still within a healthy BMI, deleteriously impacts on hireability ratings,” the report states. “The paper [asks] whether female employees at the upper end of a healthy BMI range are likely to be viewed more negatively than their overtly overweight male counterparts.”
(What a question to ask).
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The researchers asked 60 men and 60 women to imagine they were company recruiters.
These participants were asked to judge the suitability of job candidates by looking at their faces. The faces were of four men and women at various, digitally enhanced, weights. All these weights were within the ‘healthy’ range, according to the BMI scale.