Double Bind

Career women face a double bind: the more competent and assertive they are, the less liked they are (these traits are positively correlated with likability for men, negatively for women), and reduced likability makes women less effective as leaders . If they are not very assertive, they may be  well-liked but they are not perceived as very competent, so their effectiveness suffers again. So damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 

For the geeky among us, here’s a handy illustrated guide to women’s careers. Comic7_DoubleBind


  1. That is so true and so so unfair.
    Although I’m undergrad now, I am pretty much diskliked (esp. by men) because I work hard and try to achieve something. Not once was I called bossy bitch, though wouldn’t consider myslef to be one.I just take initiative when noone else does. What is wrong with that?!
    This is very discouraging, go into science and be considered a bitch, who only a few people like, or choosing diffeerent career, and remain relatively likelable. 😦 Depressing

  2. That is one of the best cartoons ever!!!! At this point in my career, bossy bitch sounds like a compliment.

  3. I have a couple posts on this brewing myself. I got into a big argument with a big man in the field (over a meal) when he off-handedly mentioned that a star woman in the field bragged about herself too much. If she is not allowed self confidence, then by implication no woman is.

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