Is it just me? Or is it age that matters in the air con wars?

Is it just me? Or is it age, not sex, that matters in the air con wars? asks LIZ HOGGARD

  • Liz Hoggard argues age impacts debates over temperature more than gender
  • She says midlife women are warmer than her younger colleagues in the office
  • She says hormonal surges and hot flushes cause midlife women to need air con

In the struggle for workplace equality, women are being frozen out by men. According to new research published by online scientific journal Plos One, men — who perform better at cognitive tasks in cooler conditions — are turning the air conditioning up, while women freeze.

Most offices are tuned to male biology, the report explains, with air conditioning based on the metabolism of a 40-year-old-man weighing 11st.

In contrast, women do better on maths and verbal tests at temperatures of 25c (three degrees higher than men).

Liz Hoggard questions research that shows men who thrive in cooler conditions, are leaving their female colleagues frozen (file image)

Scientists say this gender bias should stop, calling for offices to be ‘thermally egalitarian’. Now, I’m the first to spot sexism in the the workplace, but funnily enough, the biggest air conditioning squabbles I’ve witnessed have been between women.

Midlife women are warm enough thank you, with hormonal surges and hot flushes. We need generous air con, and often look on in puzzlement as colleagues in their 30s and 40s pile on coats and scarves to cope with the chill.

Growing up, I was always a hot child (flooded by anxiety and embarrassment), so nothing much has changed.

‘You’re in a summer dress with bare legs,’ my boss marvels. Oh, yes, I’m loving a slight breeze. And don’t you dare turn that thermostat up.

The other side-effect of the menopause is putting on weight. A muffin top gives you extra insulation. It’s like having your own private boiler.

I can’t help noticing that the gorgeous young colleagues moaning about being cold on the first day of summer are super skinny. Put on a cardigan dear. Or eat a sandwich.

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