One of my best friends in grad school was an American guy, very smart, worldly, and wickedly funny. He was a joy to be around and had lots of friends, and he alone is probably to be thanked for half of my current idiom vocabulary. He also happened to be fairly short and often complained about difficulties with dating -- how many women would not even consider him seriously because of his height (he is now happily married, with kids). He also often spoke about how he felt that his height had caused him a lot of grief growing up and made him the object of bullying.
My friend was treated very badly by his PhD advisor: the advisor would dismiss my friend's work and berate him, yell and make fun of him in front of the group. My friend was quite traumatized by the whole graduate school experience but managed to get his PhD and not look back. We talked about it on occasion, and he basically said that his advisor bullied him just like he had been bullied in middle and high school, and that it was all because he was short.
I thought of my friend again after reading this comment on YFS blog. Basically, YFS indicated that, in her experience, taller women have to put up with less sexist behavior than shorter women, because men don't expect to easily intimidate them, and also that shorter men are given a hard time by taller ones.
So how much of a bearing does one's height have on one's professional relationships and career? Clearly, height has nothing to do with one's intellect, but if it does affect interpersonal professional relationships in a systematic manner, then by extension it will affect one's career.
I remember one faculty candidate we interviewed a few years back. He ended up not getting an offer, but every single person commented on how tall he was (over 6'5" for sure). So apparently this was something people certainly noticed when they first met him, although I don't think it influenced the hiring decision.
On the other hand, one of the most impressive scientists in my field is a man with very small stature. He's perfectly kind, but can be quite blunt and completely no-BS when it comes to technical issues. He is entirely awe-provoking and it is very hard to imagine that anyone would be able to intimidate this man.
For women, the issue of small stature, on average, is difficult to decouple from the overall condition of being female, and I have read multiple places that it plays into the overall perceived inferiority of women. One anecdote I can think of has to do with my good friend who's in a different department. We started at the same time and bonded over new faculty luncheons in our early years. She's very sharp, assertive, and successful, and also happens to be girly and petite. She gets a lot of sexist remarks and gets hit on by students and colleagues, so her academic life can be quite uncomfortable. A particularly annoying colleague is an old faculty member who keeps calling her "little lady". She said several times "If I were 6' tall, he would not be calling me little lady." That's probably true, although I think he would probably be using some other cutesy name to talk down to her anyway: as per FSP's related post, a 6 ft female friend (who was born a man and underwent a sex-change surgery) gets talked down to as a woman, despite her height.
So, dear readers, do you feel that height has a systematic effect on one's professional relationships and career? How does the issue of above-average or below-average height play into the careers of members of underrepresented groups, who face multiple unconscious biases and stereotypes? If you are taller or shorted than the average for your gender, has that helped or hurt your career or have you found it to be largely irrelevant?