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A bias regulated by the office temperature


battle of the thermostat

For those who believe whether in good reason or otherwise that the 21st century is no ground for the gender bias to prevail might be only partially right- or partially wrong for that matter as well. The ‘ideals’ of gender based discrimination might have undergone a sea change and women might now have access to a whole more privileges and rights- which in fact are actually necessities mostly, but to harbour that rosy expectation from reality of absolute equality, or even somehow close to that ultimateness, still amounts to a pursuit almost as futile as what it had been in the centuries past world of appalling prejudice and partisanship that women particularly have been subjected to.

Of much inconsideration in its seeming ordinariness but not so irrelevant as well if one comes to really think about it would be such a projection of reality that not just points to this whole discriminatory affair in rampant occurrence but derives as well from that very despising depiction in what is unfair indeed would be a very peculiar characterisation that even this modern world have not been able to get rid of. This tends to be specifically amusing as well because the arena of its happening is one not any languishing still platform of backwardness but perpetuating instead across a setup that presents perhaps a greater idea in equality and empowerment than most other instances and settings of the immensely developed world.

It might emerge as rather ridiculous that one should choose to dwell upon the universally prevailing consensus of an argument that finds office spaces everywhere in the world to be hardwired to present as definitely way cooler for women than what they can comfortably or at least reasonably bear with. Cutting across all demarcations of space, time and region and withstanding even the differences in thermal factors that lead people from different parts of the globe to be differently responding to the same temperature, this is a truth that has prevailed well into the 2000s even with the new millennium setting indeed- or claiming to set at least- new standards for inclusivity and egalitarianism and equality and what not. From ‘allowing’ women more participation in the work place to significantly bridging the pay gap, apparently if not actually, the professional work setting and structure is one of more substance than what concerns the ambient temperature of the many physical spaces across which it cumulates.

In so many commonplace instances of hearing women complaining about the freezing almost ‘ambience’ of their workplaces, it indeed is the norm for men to shake their heads and roll their eyes in yet another encounter of their female counterparts making a fuss over nothing or finding something to make an issue of as what they consider to be but very characteristic of the womenfolk. But that does not let the disagreement die down between male and female employees concerning the office temperature especially since the exact notion resonates across every individual of the respective strata of gender classification all over. And with good reason as well. With a science backing this female physiological perceiving of the degrees in their own terms and the case established as well in history of the male oriented setting of the optimal office temperature, this is an area of assertion where it isn’t the woman who is being unreasonable.

The average human body temperature that exists as the defining standard of what a normal awareness in thermal terms should ideally be does not come across as two distinct figures. Which means that both men and women hover around the same range of warmth in their body but consider other factors of natural differentiation like the metabolic rate for example that is lower for women generally not as muscular as men and the associated feature of women being smaller sized- but no lesser- individuals and the female built do tend to feel colder than the male type. This explains why women find a temperature more than convenient enough for men to not be so conducive for their existence and working.

That though is only part of the problem and one that is very natural as well. The graver assertion in discrimination rests instead upon a basis (hu)manly worked out originally in its premise of what was fair enough indeed but encompassing along the years elements of bias in failing to keep up with the times. It also is this logic now set upon the grounds of partiality that makes the matter a lot more clearer as to why the same temperature manifests as two dramatically different perceptions in physicality despite there existing only minor differences in the threshold of thermal reception that women and men are naturally attuned to.

Based on a 1960s American model adhered to globally is the temperature setting that offices follow that, drawing upon obviously on a time when women did not find as much representation in the workplace, caters more or rather exclusively to the male requirement for cooling or heating. Naturally, being left out of this greater consideration in optimality made women needing to adjust to the conditions already worked out even when they have ceased to be a minority in the professional space today.

What emerges out of such ‘historical account’ therefore is the definite presence of a bias that while might not have been there in the first place but in the fact that it failed to make allowances for the change setting in the following years, or more significantly choosing to overrule the different expectations that would necessarily accompany a shift induced in the workforce to also have more women summing it up, this originally unassuming framework of the temperature theory has garnered for itself a disrepute with respect to its appalling lack of regard for a certain spectrum of the human population.

The very fact that even the most modern minded, technologically advanced and inclusive businesses of the 21st century still does not replicate exactly these claims of their impartiality when it comes to their actual standing up to them, even when it is something seemingly as inconsequential as the office settings in a world more and more accustomed to the work from home or such flexible modes of non physical working setup, is more than surely establishing of the glaring divide that discriminates against women despite all vouchings to the contrary. But this isn’t even all that there is to this issue of a reality more imposing in the extent of its implications.

It isn’t just comfortable bodily existences that the office temperature heavily set in favour of the male needs thwarts the prospects of for women; it also is their very esteem and reputation as effective, efficient agents of productivity that takes a beating in the face of such unprogressive aids presenting itself as disruptors for the very cause they are supposed to further. It should not be too surprising of course that external agents like these not sitting so in sync with the physical requirements can significantly impede the functioning and capabilities of the human. And that relates for sure to the aspect of productivity as well which draws upon every characteristic trait and state of being of the individual to emerge therefore as efficient or not depending upon its assertion as favourable or unfavourable.

Mockery and resentment and a general vibe of unease prevails as well which definitely affects both the office mood and the overall output but even in setting aside such secondary concerns, the basic undoings are more than distinctive in the hardships that women workers have to deal with. Even the evidence in these primary suppositions might not be very extensively established nor it has been something sufficiently explored. But in whatever extent of research conducted, there has been rather strong links between a less than optimum awareness in comfortable existence of the human- in this case also encompassing conditions of work and their corresponding cognitive functioning and overall performance.

The range of temperature that characterise our immediate surroundings impacts mood indeed, of both the logical and the emotional kind. Impairing particularly the intellectual performance of women and in rather striking intensity as well is this forever prevailing as the standard office thermostat settings that is set as farther away as possible from what occurs as their existence in equilibrium.

The effect is one immense indeed in its own but what makes it even more representative of the underlying bias against women alluding of course to the hard to shun notion of gender discrimination is the extent of its exertion. Studies have find that while a more than bearably cold office space negatively weighs down upon women’s performance and productivity, these negatives can be dramatically altered by even just a single degree of difference in the temperature. Interestingly though, the changes in temperature also led to a dip in the performance exhibited by the men of the office. But the dip in the latter case does not manage to overtake still the significant improvement in performance of the womenfolk which therefore makes it conducive to account for a change of the thermal dynamics.

This means that the adjustment that can be possibly worked into this scheme of things need not be one entirely upsetting of the whole and now long held privilege to which the male identity has been privy without any very well established reasoning to that. Even a small movement away from the standard office cooling setting can be effective enough to make the workplace a level playing ground for both male and female employees. And yet, it isn’t only the consideration in exclusively business terms or in economic implications that shift the momentum to women in winning this case in warming up offices in sound logic at least for now if not in the sure reality.

Reducing the range of the average temperature that should be maintained also is an advocacy against global warming and climate change since even the smallest measure of changes can be critical in saving the planet from more harm than already done. No matter how far fetched it might seem, this is another reality consequential enough to consider in making the case for upping the degrees so that women are not made to suffer inhumanly in their freezing state of existence and men are not let to unduly enjoy the luxury of an identity that has long ceased to hold special relevance.





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