Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Careers

Obesity Affects Job Prospects for Women


21 May 2012 at 10:48 am
Staff Reporter
Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.

Staff Reporter | 21 May 2012 at 10:48 am


1 Comments


 Print
Obesity Affects Job Prospects for Women
21 May 2012 at 10:48 am

Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.

The study, led by Monash University and published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined whether a recently developed measure of anti-fat prejudice, the universal measure of bias (UMB), predicted actual obesity job discrimination.

The international research team also assessed whether people’s own body image, and dimensions of personality such as authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, were related to obesity discrimination.

Lead researcher, Dr Kerry O’Brien, from the Monash University’s School of Political and Social Inquiry, said the nature of the study was initially concealed from the participants to avoid biased results.

“Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the supposed job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants’ suitability, starting salary and employability,” Dr O’Brien said.

“We used pictures of women pre-and post-bariatric surgery, and varied whether participants saw a resume that had a picture of an obese female attached, or the same female but in a normal weight range having undergone bariatric surgery.

“We found that obesity discrimination was displayed across all selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of selection for the job.”

The study found that the higher a participant’s score on the UMB, the more likely they were to discriminate against obese candidates.

Dr O’Brien and his colleague Janet Latner, from the University of Hawaii, said one of the interesting aspects of the findings was that the participants’ own body image was closely associated with obesity discrimination.

“The higher participants’ rated their own physical attractiveness and importance of physical appearance, the greater the anti-fat prejudice and discrimination,” Dr O’Brien said.

“One interpretation of this finding might be that we feel better about our own bodies if we compare ourselves to, and discriminate against, fatter people, but we need to test this experimentally.”

Researchers say the study is the first to show a relationship between self-reported measures of obesity prejudice and actual obesity discrimination.

They say the results suggest that a belief in the superiority of some individuals over others is related to the perception that obese individuals deserve fewer privileges and opportunities than non-fat individuals.

“Our findings show that there is a clear need to address obesity discrimination, particularly against females, who tend to bear the brunt of anti-fat prejudice. Prejudice reduction interventions and policies need to be developed,” Dr O’Brien said

“It’s also becoming clear that the reasons for this prejudice appear to be related to our personalities and how we feel about ourselves, with attributions, such as ‘obese people are lazy, gluttonous, etc’ merely acting as self-justifications for the prejudice.”

 

 

 

 


 



PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Advertisement

Subscribe HR

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

One comment

  • Topender Topender says:

    This research surely stretches credulity when it suggest people form views that “obese individuals deserve fewer privileges and opportunities than non-fat individuals”

    The participants were asked to rate people for potental employment. Most people intuitively know that, along with a person’s qualifications and experience, there are intanglible factors that can determine success at work: self confidence, the ability to inspire and motivate others, the ability to operate under pressure, and so on. Respondents may well be alluding to the practical reality that such qualities are often not possessed by people who are obese. This is hardly the same thing as celebrity worship, or media driven body image, and doesn’t need “prejudice reduction interventions”.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Now is the time to invest in the strategic adaptation of volunteering

Mark Pearce

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020 at 6:41 pm

Here’s how you can prepare for the recruiting bounceback

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020 at 4:57 pm

Finding the simple solutions

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 30th November 2020 at 8:20 am

Here’s how you can turn your volunteering gig into paid work

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 30th November 2020 at 8:15 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×