What is the Likeability Gap? What Are The Implications For Women Employees?

Likeability gap is behavior adjustment to be more accepted or preferred by a group, in this case is gender group. The likeability gap is one of the impacts of gender bias and a double bind.

In one study, data showed that success and being liked did not go hand in hand for women. Female leaders are more disliked than men, not because of their success but because of their behavior that may differ from their nature. So many women think that to be liked means doing something right or being nice, such as:

But in fact, this kind of behavior actually reinforces the gender bias that exists in the workplace which then has an impact on equal pay. Many studies show that women's performance is evaluated more on personal qualities than on their competence and women who assert that they deserve a raise are often penalized for doing so.


Types of Likeability

The Goldilocks Conundrum

It's just that you're 'too warm' or 'too cold'. Assertive women are often seen as aggressive and unwelcome, but if women are too kind, they are considered not good enough to be leaders. In this case, women must be what other women expect or what is expected from a leader.

The Unattainable Luxury of Authenticity

You're told that you're 'too much or not enough' which makes you degrade yourself to suit the expectation of others. Changing who you are may undermine who you really are.

Likeability Penalty

If you achieve success, you become less likable because society is not used to seeing women as success. For women, every step towards success is always met with criticism. For women, pursuing a raise or promotion is seen as inappropriate.


How to overcome the Likeability Gap

  1. Focus on building relationships with others, understanding others, and being inclusive, not how you control other people's thoughts and behavior.
  2. Let empathy be your strength. Continuously listening, understanding shows that humanity is a strong lead character.
  3. Be confident and stick to your values. Instead of being wishy-washy, stick to your beliefs, it's important.
  4. Don't make or judge yourself small. You are where you are today because of your hard work because you want to grow because you want to learn.

It is not easy to challenge and overcome gender bias due to social or cultural norms. Some of us, often do it without realizing it. But we can decide not to degrade ourselves just to be accepted or liked.

Let's respect each other and take advantage of the feminine or masculine traits that exist naturally in women or men to create trust, integrity, sincere relationships, and a strong vision for better team performance. In addition, it can encourage women's participation in leadership.


15 October 2021

Tiara Tri Hapsari