One of the great mysteries in our office has been solved in one fell swoop – and we now know why the females sit there shivering in their furry hooded coats, scarves and gloves – in August – while the men saunter around in short sleeves shrugging and saying: “I’m all right.”
Forget the fact that women may have finally smashed through the glass ceiling to join men in the boardroom, when it comes to office temperatures, it seems we are still being left out in the cold.
Us girls have often wondered why the workplace feels so chilly on a hot summer’s day or why on other days we seem to be struck by hot flushes and just can’t cool down.
We’ve been reassured time and again it’s not a cunning ploy by the bosses to save money by tampering with the temperature.
But we’ve been baffled by the way the male species never seem to bat an eyelid or complain of shivering or sweltering.
And it seems that we’re not the only ones who’ve been suffering as the verdict is that women workers in the UK are being sexually discriminated against… by air conditioning units.
Apparently, modern air conditioning units are based on the metabolic rate of an 11-stone 40-year-old man, based on practices dating back to the 1960s.
The study discovered that the optimum temperature for women in the workplace is about 24.5C, while men are happiest at 22C.
To make things even more confusing, metabolic rate lowers with increasing age, which means an older workforce is likely to need higher office temperatures.
Our bodies also affect how hot or cold we feel. Men typically have more heat generating muscle than women, so feel comfortable at cooler temperatures.
Women tend to be smaller and have more body fat than men, so they have slower metabolic rates and need to be warmer.
This means that the current air conditioning standards are too cold for most women.
Being skinny or fat can also have a big impact on how hot or cold you feel. These findings have been greeted with applause by the women of our office. At last, we have an explanation for why we’re forced to wear our coats, jumpers and cardies, even when it’s roasting outside.
However, some men – my Hubby included – are often quite unsympathetic to our plight.
And those of us who prefer not to wear our winter wear during the summer months are often rudely told to put on more clothes.
The other day, Hubby wasn’t very happy to find I had put the central heating on to warm up as I was feeling too cold.
However, this study has provided proof that we are cold for a good reason – sexist air conditioning. It’s a great excuse for telling the men in the office that it’s their turn to get the brews in to help thaw the chill going through us.