“This likability dimension is a real barrier for women,” Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, told Vox last year. “Voters are perfectly willing to vote for a man for executive office that they think is qualified that they don’t like, but they are not willing to vote for a woman they think is qualified that they don’t like.”
New research proves that this is true. According to a study published in The Economic Journal, likability matters among women and among mixed-gender groups but not among men alone. In other words, women want both sexes to be likable, and men want women to be likable, but they don’t care so much about other men.
“Our results hint at the existence of a likeability factor that offers a novel perspective on gender differences in labour market outcomes,” Leonie Gerhards, the paper’s lead author, said. “While likeability matters for women in every one of their interactions, it matters for men only if they interact with the opposite sex.”