Published: March 26, 2019

Attractive women can be perceived as dangerous in the business world due to a “femme fatale effect,” according to new research by the Leeds School of Business and Washington State University. This effect results in attractive businesswomen being seen as less trustworthy, less truthful, and more dispensable from their jobs.

The research was a coordinated effort between Leeds leadership authority and Associate Professor of Management Stefanie Johnson and Leah Sheppard, assistant professor of management at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business. In the research, Johnson and Sheppard performed a series of six independent tests, having people rate attractiveness of “professional women” through an online crowdsourcing platform. Given a series of images of men and women with varying titles and industries, participants were asked to weigh in on their credibility and truthfulness and whether they should be fired of each person based on their photo. Women who were rated the most attractive consistently performed the worst in this assessment.

Read more about this research on CU Boulder Today.