Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weight Discrimination Could Contribute To The Glass Ceiling Effect For Women, Study Finds

Date:
April 7, 2009
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Weight discrimination appears to add to the glass ceiling effect for women, finds a new study.

Weight discrimination appears to add to the glass ceiling effect for women, finds a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University scholar.

Overweight and obese women are significantly underrepresented among the top CEOs in the United States, according to the research, which appears in the British journal Equal Opportunities International. However, while obese men were also underrepresented, overweight men were actually overrepresented among top CEOs.

The different results for women and men suggest weight bias may contribute to the glass ceiling on the advancement of women to the top levels of management, said Mark Roehling, MSU associate professor of human resource management.

“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,” he said. “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. For the study, two groups of experts analyzed publicly available photos of CEOs from Fortune 1000 companies. The expert raters included individuals who were tested prior to the study to determine their accuracy in assessing body weight based on photographs, and medical professionals who by virtue of training and experience are experts at weight estimation.

Both groups found that only 5 percent of male and female CEOs at top companies were obese (body mass index greater than 30), which is much lower than the U.S. average of 36 percent for men and 38 percent for women of similar age.

Study findings also indicate that between 45 percent and 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29), which is higher than the U.S. average of 41 percent in similarly aged men. That means overweight men were actually overrepresented in top CEO positions.

In sharp contrast, only 5 percent-22 percent of top female CEOs were overweight, compared with the U.S. average of 29 percent among similarly aged women.

“This reflects a greater tolerance and possibly even a preference for a larger size among men but a smaller size among women,” the researchers write in the study.

Said Roehling: “It appears that the glass ceiling effect on women’s advancement may reflect not only general negative stereotypes about the competencies of women, but also weight bias that results in the application of stricter appearance standards to women.”

Leading the research team with Mark Roehling was Patricia Roehling, professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Weight Discrimination Could Contribute To The Glass Ceiling Effect For Women, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407145201.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2009, April 7). Weight Discrimination Could Contribute To The Glass Ceiling Effect For Women, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407145201.htm
Michigan State University. "Weight Discrimination Could Contribute To The Glass Ceiling Effect For Women, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407145201.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins