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A woman in London has a quandary — her looks have become a problem.So she wrote into Lucy Kellaway, a management columnist for the FT, asking for help in the career department.
The 27-year-old female financier writes,
I know that you will think this problem is mad, but I fear I’m too good looking for corporate life.
As a student I used my looks to make money modelling, but now that I’m in the City I feel they are holding me back. Female colleagues distrust me, while male colleagues are drawn to me, but don’t take me very seriously.
My boss has told me that I need to network more. But I find networking events are ghastly, with all the eager men dribbling over me. What can I do, short of turning up to work in a bin liner?
Banker, female, 27
We know at least one former Citi banker who could sympathize, and we bet there are more.
Studies have found that attractive women aren’t always favoured by their superiors or colleagues; “beauty has an ugly side too, at least for some women who look for jobs considered “masculine” by society,” according to the Economic Times.
The findings came from a study by the University of Colorado Business School:
Attractive women were discriminated against when applying for jobs considered “masculine”, and for which appearance was not seen as important to the job… Positions such as manager of research and development, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor were not considered favourable for attractive women.
“In every other kind of job, attractive women were preferred. This wasn’t the case with men, which shows that there is still a double standard when it comes to gender.” Attractive men, however, suffered no discrimination and were always at an advantage.
A study by MSNBC and Elle on the other hand, found “female bosses who were considered attractive were rated competent 58% of the time, compared with 23% for unattractive supervisors.”
Of course that doesn’t apply to the letter-writer, because she’s in a junior position.
Lucy says she’ll respond on April 13; we’ll let you know what she says.