Successful women are seen as less likeable.

People judge women to be less competent than men in ‘male’ jobs unless they are clearly successful. However, when a woman is clearly competent in a ‘masculine’ job, she is considered to be less likeable to men.12 Because both likability and competence are vital for success in the workplace, women in STEMM fields often find themselves in a double bind.


Mother Nature Needs Her Daughters: A Homeward Bound Global Review and Fact Sheet Investigating Gender Inequality in STEMM

Prepared by Fabian Dattner, Homeward Bound CEO and Co-founder;
Dr Mary-Ellen Feeney, Jacobs Group (Australia); and
Professor Tonia Gray, Centre for Educational Research, Western Sydney University.
Compiled by Homeward Bound Alumni from 2018 & 2019

Copies can be download at https://doi.org/10.26183/5d22d5fbe2349

Online version here.

What “blindness” to gender differences helps women see and do: Implications for confidence, agency, and action in male dominated environments

Time spent adapting to work expectations can have resource implications. To manage the competence–likeability trade-off, women may downplay femininity, or try to soften a hard-charging style, or attempt to strike a perfect balance between the two. But overinvestment in one’s image diminishes the emotional and motivational resources available for larger purposes. People who focus on how others perceive them are less clear about their goals, less open to learning from failure, and less capable of self-regulation.


Penalties for success: Reactions to women who succeed at male gender-type tasks

Heilman ME, Wallen AS, Fuchs D, and Tamkins MM. (2004). Journal of Applied Psychology. 89:416–427.



Not Very Likeable: Here Is How Bias Is Affecting Women Leaders

FORBES – Lack of women leadership means that women can often face more bullying in the workplace, the workforces is less diverse at the top, and that the mental well-being of female employees can suffer too as they feel discriminated against and do not have the same opportunities to progress. The lack of women leaders also creates a paucity of role models that can inspire other women to enter and stay in the workforce.


For Women Leaders, Likability and Success Hardly Go Hand-in-Hand

HBR – The data clearly shows is that success and likeability do not go together for women. This conclusion is all too familiar to the many women on the receiving end of these penalties. The ones who are applauded for delivering results at work but then reprimanded for being “too aggressive,” “out for herself,” “difficult,” and “abrasive.”



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It’s time to give women in STEMM a bigger voice. Share these facts with everyone you know. Shout it out loud. Be heard. Rally together. Pass it to your peers, your networks and social circles.


Start a conversation.

When you hold a GenderFacts.org mug in your hand, you must stop and think about the bias faced by women in the workplace.
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It’s time to give women in STEMM a bigger voice. Share these facts with everyone you know*. Shout it out loud. Be heard. Rally together. Pass it to your peers, your networks and social circles.



* Steal the Gender Facts resources from our public TRELLO board. We don’t mind at all.