Better looks 'would boost career'

Aug 02 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

So much for "brains over beauty". More than half of women believe that having a better body and being more attractive would help them climb the career ladder.

A survey of 2,000 women by Top Sante magazine has found that seven out of 10 feel that their body image is preventing them living the life they want and hardly any are completely happy with their appearance.

More than eight out of 10 said that celebrity culture has made expectations of women's bodies too high, so much so that two-thirds of those surveyed said that they would consider having cosmetic surgery. Only a third ruled it out altogether.

Earlier this year, research by UK communications consultancy The Aziz Corporation revealed a similar picture, with more than a quarter of female executives saying they would be prepared to undergo a face lift, plastic surgery or Botox treatments if they thought it would boost their career prospects.

Less invasive procedures such as dying grey hair, dieting and dental work met with almost universal approval, with more than nine out of 10 women saying that they would consider them.

According to the Top Sante survey, two-thirds of women would change their lifestyle if they had a "better body", more than four out of 10 would change their career and more than one in 10 would even change their partner.

Women are also terrified of looking old, with six out of 10 jealous of women their own age who look younger.

Most believe they looked their best at 31, after which it is downhill all the way.

Top Sante's editor, Lauren Libbert said that women today are judged on their body image more than at any other time in history.

"They are constantly faced with cosmetically enhanced celebrities - and they see good-looking women seemingly achieving more than just clever ones," she said.

Ruth Lea, the director of the Centre for Policy Studies, admitted that that looks were often crucial at work. "If you look good, you are almost half way up the career ladder," she said.

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, Lee may have a point.

Good-looking, slim, tall people earn around five per cent more per hour than their less attractive colleagues, it found, while those with below-average looks tend to earn nine per cent less an hour.

Meanwhile, while grey-haired men are perceived as being mature and experienced, women who are grey are more likely to be considered tired or old Ė something attested to by the fast that none of the eight women who run a Fortune 500 company in the USA have grey hair.