Why You Shouldn't Call Your Daughter Bossy

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm not a parent, but should my life take an unexpected turn I become the mother to a little girl I pledge to never call her bossy. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer and author of the best-selling book Lean In, wants you to make that promise too. 

Sandberg has teamed up with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Ch├ívez to launch a public service campaign called "Ban Bossy." The BanBossy.com website offers tips for girls, parents teachers, managers, and troop leaders on how to encourage young female leaders. 

And the website asks you to publicly pledge via social media to ban the word bossy. Why make such a big deal about such a little word? As stated on BanBossy.com: 

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. 

The website also features a video that includes appearances by Sandberg and Rice as well as pop star Beyonce, actress Jennifer Garner and a number of other celebrities. Take a look: 

"I'm not bossy. I'm the boss!" -- that statement by Beyonce makes me want to pump my fist to the sky and yell, "Girl power!" But another thing I really appreciate about this video is that it includes men too. I believe it's important for us all to recognize that if the number of female leaders is going to significantly increase, men must be involved in this movement. They must be willing to mentor and support their female colleagues or employees and fathers must be willing to encourage their daughters to pursue dreams just as bold as the hopes they have for their sons. 

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