Weight Can Hurt Your Job Prospects — Especially If You Are A Woman

The new study shows women who have a healthy BMI but weigh more than society’s standards may lose out on dream jobs.


As if it weren’t enough that women face gender pay gap in jobs, sexual harassment, lose executive roles to men and even get fired for being pregnant, now new research published in Plos One finds that even an increase of a few pounds can cost a woman her dream job.

Research found extra weight reduce an applicant’s prospects, particularly if that applicant is a woman.

The study, conducted by a team of Canadian and Scottish researchers, finds you don’t have to be exactly obese to face workplace discrimination. The team digitally modified images of the same white male and female faces to make it look they have gained a few pounds and then asked the participants to rate the ones they would hire in order of priority.

Overweight Women

The result was that the heavier female face was rated lower than the original, thinner female face, original male face and even the heavier male face.

A 2009 study previously revealed being overtly obese may hurt your chances to get a job. However, this new research takes it even one step further — that females face a greater degree of discrimination based on their weight and even being marginally outside the “beauty standard” weight scale could mean remaining unemployed.

“Especially for women, being heavier, but still within a healthy BMI, deleteriously impacts on hireability ratings,” the report states.

This is just one another example of society judging women harshly over the same things that are considered almost insignificant in their male counterparts.

An NBC News writer, Eve Tahmincioglu, wrote a column in 2007 stating overweight men and women can expect to earn 1 to 6 percent less of what lesser weight employees earn and for women that loss is more than the men’s.

The researchers call the results that are indicative of gender inequality in workplace “deeply unsettling.” What’s even more disturbing is the fact that this type of discrimination is not likely to change anytime soon since weight is not a protected characteristic in fair employment laws in most places in the U.S.

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