Study finds Overweight Women facing Discrimination in Court reports Vibraslim
Such Discrimination was Rumoured to Exist, but now seems to have been Proven
There have been past studies which documented the consideration of weight-based discrimination, including areas of employment and health care, but the latest study set out to note the role of such bias in the legal setting.
Researchers presented over 450 participants with a description of a mock court case. The case dealt with alleged check fraud, specifically. The individuals were shown the participant and supposed picture of one of the four defendants. There was the lean male, lead female, and overweight versions of each gender. After viewing the pictures, the jurors were asked several questions about the defendant's guilt, including whether the person shown had intension of committing fraud in addition to whether or not he/she was more likely to be a repeat offender.
The overweight female defendant was found by male jurors to be significantly more likely to be guilty, compared to the thin defendant. Female jurors judged both women equally, regardless of weight. For all the jurors, the male defendant's weight had no effect on the guilt perception.
It thus appears that only female defendants were under scrutiny for being overweight, and with consistent outcomes showing such a pattern. This is also consistent with research conducted over the past two decades, which show that women are much more vulnerable to discrimination based on weight than their male counterparts.
"It's important to look at weight stigma not only as a public health priority but also as a source of sweeping social injustice," Schvey said, adding that its prevalence is now on par with rates of racial discrimination.
The study's authors recommend that effort be put into fighting the stigma of weight in the legal setting. Screening for bias during selection is one such recommendation.
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