Too Good Looking For a Job?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

I remember some time ago chatting with a couple of male colleagues. They were explaining to me that they were too good looking to get picked up. It seems when they went to bars or dance clubs, they would be admired and ogled but few would approach them … potential suitors felt they were out of their league in making a move because the guys were so handsome!

Now most of us would have thought that the good looking types would never have a lonely night. But being too good looking has it downsides it seems.

A recent study has now verified that as far as work goes, looks also have an impact on whether you “get selected”l.

Recruiters were chosen for the study and asked to categorise photos of women and men according to whom they would select for certain positions.

Reported in the Journal of Social Psychology, researchers found that

  • when being considered for traditionally masculine jobs (like prison guard or construction worker), attractive women were overlooked
  • when being considered for jobs such as Finance Director, Manager of R&D, Engineer attractive women were considered not suitable
  • attractive women were selected for traditionally female roles such as receptionist or secretary
  • men were considered for all positions based on their looks – there was no stereotyping according to role
  • attractiveness worked favourably for males and females in matters of compensation, performance assessment and generally

“There is still a double standard when it comes to gender” said Stefanie Johnson, the researcher.

This research supports the view that women in particular continue to suffer workplace discrimination based on their attractiveness or looks.

Merit Selection may be a wonderful philosophy but it seems we are still more likely to select

(a) based on deemed attractiveness and

(b) according to stereotypes roles

Discrimination is alive and kicking.

Guess it pays overall to at least be attractive!

Source: Journal of Social Psychology, June 2010, Stefanie Johnson Assistant Professor of Management at University of Colorado

Physical Attractiveness Biases in Ratings of Employment Suitability- Tracking Down the “Beauty is Beastly Effect

What Happened to Feminism?

The scene in this cozy Atlanta living room would — at first glance — warm an early feminist’s heart. Gathered by the fireplace one recent evening, sipping wine and nibbling cheese, are the members of a book club, each of them a beneficiary of all that feminists of 30-odd years ago held dear.

The eight women in the room have each earned a degree from Princeton, which was a citadel of everything male until the first co-educated class entered in 1969. And after Princeton, the women of this book club went on to do other things that women once were not expected to do. They received law degrees from Harvard and Columbia. They chose husbands who could keep up with them, not simply support them. They waited to have children because work was too exciting. They put on power suits and marched off to take on the world.

Yes, if an early feminist could peer into this scene, she would feel triumphant about the future. Until, of course, any one of these polished and purposeful women opened her mouth. Continue reading “What Happened to Feminism?”

Why Aren’t More Women at the Top?

female leadershipWhy aren’t more women leading U.S. companies? That question has been asked ever since women began flooding the workforce in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it remains just as relevant today: Women make up 3% of the top corporate officers in the companies that comprise the Fortune 500. And only 6% of the CEO slots in Internet companies that are financed by major venture-capital firms are held by women.

Sometime during the 1980s, the book-publishing industry caught on to this trend, and a cottage industry of career books was born — each one cheerily promising women that they could beat those dismal statistics, if only they would follow 10 simple steps. Continue reading “Why Aren’t More Women at the Top?”

What is the Glass Ceiling?

The Glass Ceiling

Toussaint discusses the history of women’s economic oppression, including the recent phenomenon of “the glass ceiling.”
Since the landing of the Mayflower, the fabric of American society has shifted with increased scientific advancements which have affected the daily lives of Americans. While these changes have boded well for the level of human comfort, there still remain certain aspects of American society that have resisted progress.

The Age of Reason denounced the concept of the Divine Right of Kings and introduced to us the concepts of individuality and human rights. These ideologies led the country now known as the United States of America to declare its independence from Britain in 1776. The American British colonies’ bid for autonomy result- ed in increased freedoms, yet those freedoms have tended to apply to a restricted class of citizens. Historical data reveal to us that American men have had a longstanding claim on the reigns of power and influence; although there is a slight shift in the status quo, the overwhelming tendency is toward a male-dominated society. The ensuing result is that women are, and continue to be, second-class citizens with restricted physical and intellec- tual freedom when compared to that afforded to men. Continue reading “What is the Glass Ceiling?”