I'm so glad you brought up the gender factor. This is something I have thought about in great detail.
One of my blogs is a review site for electric shavers. One of my top competitors has a very attractive pic of a female showing in search.
I'm not going debate that a women can't know as much about electric shavers for guys as a guy, but I will assume that she recieves a higher amount of clicks due to the attractive author pic.
Fortunately for me, the content on her site is...well it sucks, wheras my reviews are well researched. While she may get more clicks, I'll bet my CTR as far as conversions are well higher so I guess it may average out.
Maybe I will get a second Gplus profile under my fiances name...she's gorgeous! lol, :-)