Overweight Women Earn Less, While Heavier Men Make More

Illustration for article titled Overweight Women Earn Less, While Heavier Men Make More

Recent studies show that women who are overweight tend to make less and are more likely to be unemployed, while men don't suffer the same penalties. LiveScience has a thoughtful and sensitive response to this disparity: Shape up, fatties.


A recent study conducted in Iceland found there's a slightly negative correlation between the weight and employment rate of women, and a slightly positive correlation for men. The research was conducted in Iceland because a World Economic Forum study found it's the country with the greatest gender equality. The U.S. ranked 31st in that study, so the situation may be even worse in America.

University of Michigan professor Edward Norton, who conducted a similar 2009 study on weight and employment, said, "There does seem to be a penalty for women." He added that heavier women "seem to be paid less," but, "If anything, larger men were paid more." This is supported by research conducted last year by the University of Florida. That study found that compared to average weight women, those who weighed 25 pounds less made about $15,572 more, and women who weighed 25 pounds more made $13,847 less.

Rather than addressing the implication that discrimination against overweight people in the office is pervasive and damaging, LiveScience says the take away is that we should all be watching our figures more closely. Under the heading "Fit to Work," the article says:

The research suggests it's important for the unemployed to stay fit during the job search, said Adam Gilbert, the founder of My Body Tutor, an online personal-training service.

"It is a very worthwhile investment," he said. "The better you look and the better you feel, there's more of a likelihood you are going to be getting a job."

With so much to lose financially, Gilbert said there is no reason to not making staying fit a priority.

The piece closes with some tips about replacing ice cream with yogurt or fruit. Problem solved! Clearly the best way to tackle the pesky size bias issue is to simply get rid of overweight people.

Extra Pounds Prove Costly to Women in the Workplace [LiveScience]

Earlier: The Skinniest Women Get The Fattest Paychecks

Image via Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock.


Dr. Opossum

I wonder if one reason why overweight men earn more than their female counterparts is that the study includes men who are counted as overweight because they have more muscle. There may be employment avenues for bulkier men (athletic positions, construction, etc.) that aren't as open to larger women.