Skinny women and big men have better chances of promotion

Study finds size matters

Being overweight can get you to the top, but not if you’re a woman. In a study that looked at the effect of weight on career advancement to upper management, researchers found that being overweight can help the advancements of men, while it holds women back. The study on weight bias is published in the British journal Equal Opportunities International. Researchers from Michigan State University asked two groups to analyze pictures of bosses at 1,000 top U.S. companies. One group were individuals who were tested before the study to determine their accuracy in assessing body weight, while the other group were medical professionals who are experts at estimating weight. Both groups perceived that only five per cent of male and female bosses at top companies were obese (this is lower than the U.S. average of 36 per cent for men, 38 per cent for women). But the findings also revealed that 61 per cent of top male bosses are actually overweight (which is higher than the U.S. average of 41 per cent of men in that age-group). In contrast, only 22 per cent of top female executives were overweight (while the US average is 29 per cent among similarly aged women). Researchers say that weight bias is one contributing factor in the glass ceiling preventing women from reaching top management.

The Daily Record

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.