They will further defend their position by arguing that it cannot be gender related, because
aha! — both men and women have problems with that particular female executive.
But the success and likeability penalty is imposed by both men and women.
Women perpetuate this bias as well.
Of course, not every woman deserves to be well liked.
Some women are disliked for behaviors that they would do well to change.
In a perfect world, they would receive constructive feedback and the opportunity to make those changes.
Still, calling attention to this bias forces people to think about whether there is a real problem or a perception problem.
The goal is to give women something men tend to receive automatically — the benefit of the doubt.
In turn, women might also want to give their bosses the benefit of the doubt.
Cynthia Hogan served as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-senator Joe Biden before leaving in 1996 after her first child was born.
Her plan was to return to the workforce a few years later.
But when her second child was born prematurely, those plans changed.
A full twelve years later, Vice PresidentElect Biden called Cynthia to ask her to join his staff as chief legal counsel in the White House.
"My first reaction was that I no longer owned any clothes other than yoga pants!" Cynthia said.