The new Ban Bossy campaign created by LeanIn.org founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the Girl Scouts of the USA, supported by Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and Diane von Furstenberg, highlights the importance of the words used to describe certain behaviors and the hidden assumptions that come with them. The mixed messages when it comes to assertiveness and initiative in girls are best illustrated by the word ‘bossy’, a word that never seems to be used to describe boys’ behaviors.
To illustrate how harmful the word can be, the campaign takes a closer look at the implications of the word ‘bossy’ or synonyms like ‘pushy’ and ‘stubborn’ and how it often ends up perceived: “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. Together we can encourage girls to lead.”
Such differences in mentality, the campaigners argue, are not to be taken lightly, especially since the gap in confidence between the two genders is very significant and these assumptions on how girls should act end up being internalized very early on. “Between elementary and high school, girls’ self–esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’,” is just one fascinating insight the new campaign brings in the spotlight.
The campaign aims to encourage everyone to acknowledge leadership skills in girls early on and actively encourage them to be ambitious in order to help cultivate the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities they are offered and to become the confident leaders of tomorrow.
The inspiring Ban Bossy campaign promoting leadership in girls is beginning to take momentum, with support coming from everywhere from media outlets to big companies like Google.
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