Women face more discrimination on obesity count

April 8th, 2009 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 8 (IANS) While obesity is a plus factor for men climbing up the corporate ladder, it works against women, says a recent study.
Mark Roehling, Michigan State University (MSU) associate professor of human resource management, who led the study, said: “The results suggest that while being obese limits the career opportunities of both women and men, being ‘merely overweight’ harms only female executives - and may actually benefit male executives.

“This pattern of findings is consistent with previous research indicating that, at least among white Americans, there is a tendency to hold women to harsher weight standards.”

Roehling said the research is the first to focus on the potential effect of weight on career advancement to the highest levels of management. Two groups of experts analysed publicly available photos of CEOs from Fortune 1000 companies.

Findings indicate that between 45 percent and 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight, which is higher than the US average of 41 percent in similarly aged men.

That means overweight men were actually overrepresented in top CEO positions. In sharp contrast, only five to 22 percent of top female CEOs were overweight, compared with the US average of 29 percent among similarly aged women, said an MSU release.

These findings appear in the British journal Equal Opportunities International.

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