Depending on who you ask, air conditioning is either sexist, a disaster for the environment, or an absolute necessity for people who don’t want to buy a fan.
As summer comes around, homes and offices nationwide are turning on the ACs to fend off the heat but some, like Australian science commentator Dr. Karl Kruzelnicki, are calling out the “sexist” air conditioning standards present in many offices.
Based on decades-old Standard 55 guidelines, OSHA-mandated offices in the United States tend to have their temperatures that offer acceptable temperature ranges between 68 to 76 degrees, offering thermal comfort for most occupants.
Dr. Kruszelnicki argues that the set-ups suffer from a sexist flaw. “Men love aircon, but women often shiver,” he writes. He says that the Standard 55 model was based on the average office worker of 1966, when most workers were middle-aged men in stuffy business suits.
It’s easier to bundle up than it is to dress down, and as most cooling systems are centrally-controlled, it can be difficult for everyone to be happy with the temperature. The Australian commentator even blames the “Patriarchy” (a feminist bogeyman often cited for gender inequality) for the standard, stating that the so-called “glass ceiling” that prevents women from being promoted into higher-paid positions at companies prevents them from getting cushy corner offices, so they’re forced to slave away in the center of the building, where they bear the brunt of the centrally cooled units.
Dr. Kruszelnicki suggests that instead of asking women to bundle up (that would be sexist), the temperatures should instead be raised for them to better fight the “glass ceiling.” In the “lady-friendly temperature,” suitless men can just “chill out.” No mention of sweaty armpits, of course. After all, his argument would be blown away if anyone were to bring that up.