Unattractive or married women need not apply?

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Working women now live in a post-third wave feminist era of leaning in, breaking through, moving up, and sitting at the table. Yet for all the celebrations surrounding these advancements made towards gender equality in the work place, outdated gender biases still persist:

Not wearing makeup can hurt your career

49% of those surveyed in the UK, said that whether or not a woman wore makeup would be a major factor in their (hiring) decision and more than two thirds of employers admit they would be less likely to hire a female applicant if she didn’t wear makeup to the interview. Excellent personal grooming, particularly in professional and workplace settings, is a given and yet, it appears that women’s grooming habits are scrutinized far more than their male counterparts.

Married women (and moms) are a threat

Out of a surveyed 1,712 married or engaged women, more than a third remove their engagement or wedding ring for a job interview, and at work, a third of them remove their rings altogether. The reason: they believe that appearing single will increase their chances of getting a job or being promoted. Apparently, it’s a common concern among women that their marital rings advertise that they are ready to start a family (and thus are ready for mat leave).

Skinny women get further ahead

This budget airline announced a new policy of only hiring light-weight women to their flight attendant staff, and caused quite a stir as this news circulated online. At first glance this may seem like an isolated, industry-specific case, it’s a well-documented fact that thinner women get further ahead in the workplace.

To sum it all up: looks (still) matter

According to a survey by Ranstad, 61% of women believe looks and work/life balance are two of the biggest obstacles to getting ahead. One could argue that this is simply a perception issue, but the numbers (see the first point) speak for themselves.

Women’s rights, especially as they pertain to the workplace, have advanced an incredible amount compared to just a few generations ago. They are climbing up the ladder to assume senior roles and they’re encouraging the next generation to strive even higher. Nevertheless, the statistics still show that women still have a ways to go, but the good news is that we’re opening up a dialogue about these issues, and that can help everyone move forward in a positive way

  • Tom_cc

    “it appears that women’s grooming habits are scrutinized far more than their male counterparts”…Really? So if I showed up to an interview with three days worth of stubble and unkempt hair, the interviewer wouldn’t care? I think you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill there. Both sexes are expected to look their best at interviews, it’s not a man vs. woman situation.

    • Guest

      If you really don’t think there’s a difference between what is expected of women and men then you obviously have no idea the amount of time and money required for women to look good (maybe you have no sisters). The point they are making is that women are expected to go a whole lot further than just combing their hair and shaving their legs. Let’s see….have you ever plucked your eyebrows for an interview? Nipped into the bathroom beforehand to touch up lipstick and eyeliner? Spent the evening doing a manicure and wearing handcream/gloves to bed for that all important handshake? Brought an extra pair of nylons in your bag just in case you get a run on the way? Brought your ‘nice’ shoes in a bag so you can wear boots in the slush to get there? All of these things are simply ‘expected’ and while no one gives it a second thought if a woman manages to do everything right, LOTS of people notice if they do something wrong! Especially by, but not restricted to, men.

  • Peter

    That’s true. There are too many assumptions made in the hiring and selection process. Hiring managers don’t have any real reason to believe that a married woman will leave after a short time. People apply for jobs because they need them.

  • Duke Sherwood

    It’s frustrating when some Recruiters are more biased towards the younger generation.
    Or is it true the older you are the worse off the chances being recruited!!! Just thoughts on feed backs from some job seekers.

    • mo

      I am only 57, and in great shape. the interviewer said to me , I really need someone who is going to be here the next 10 yrs, implying I was only there for a yr to save enough so I could take off to florida, he actually said that to me. I reminded him no one can give you that kind of security, that they will even stay.
      It was his loss, believe me. mo