London: Women bosses
become "ruthless" and far more competitive at the peak of their
fertility during a month, and hence were less likely to give
attractive women a pay rise, says a study by US experts.
This attitude dates back to the hunter-gatherer days when a woman
had to look after herself and withhold as much as possible from
rivals in order to attract men, the Daily Mail reported.
Women bosses at their fertility peak could offer up to 25 percent
less pay to their female counterparts, according to psychologists
at Wellesley College in the US.
Psychology professor Margery Lucas said women need to consider
their timing as well as how attractive their bosses are before
negotiating any deal.
During the study, women had to offer a certain salary to an
on-screen virtual partner, and keep the rest for herself.
At the end of the test, they rated the partner's attractiveness on
a 10-point scale, the daily said.
Scientists said the results showed that on average women in the
fertile stage of the month offered 25 percent less to the most
attractive women compared to the least attractive women.
Women at the low-fertility stage were far more generous, offering
20 percent more to the prettiest women than they did to the least
The researchers said it suggests that women at the low-fertility
stage are less threatened by beautiful female co-workers.
"Among women, competitiveness during periods of high fertility is
linked to the withholding of resources from potential rivals.
Resource competition is important because women need to acquire
products - clothing, makeup, accessories, and so on - to enhance
their attractiveness," the lead expert said.
"By offering less to attractive women and keeping more for
themselves, fertile women can help to enhance their own appearance
and weaken a competitor's ability to do the same," she said.
"Women today should be aware that in, for example, salary
negotiations, menstrual cycle phase, along with the attractiveness
and sex of the negotiation partner, could interact in complex and
potentially costly ways," she was quoted as saying.