Basic gender theory explains a lot of this: Men, particularly straight, white wealthy ones, are expected to be competent in male-dominated arenas like politics and business. Even when they screw up, that expectation holds, said Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson, a management professor at the University of Colorado who specializes in the intersection between leadership and diversity.
“You’re starting with a baseline assumption that he knows what he’s doing, so whatever he’s doing must be thoughtful or strategic,” she said.
Women, on the other hand, are expected to be warm but not particularly competent. “Any strange behavior confirms that she was incompetent all along,” according to Dr. Johnson.
With Boris Johnson and Trump, though, there’s another phenomenon at play, she said. These guys have built up something called “idiosyncratic credit.”
It’s a term from sociology that refers to the credibility conferred on someone based on meeting certain societal norms. In Trump and Johnson’s case, they’re white men who fit the “leader” stereotype.