Tell Us: Will You Ban 'Bossy' From Your Vocabulary?
Almost a year to the day since Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In was released, the Facebook COO is calling to "Ban bossy. Encourage girls to lead."
Lean In, Girls Scouts USA, AARP, Pantene and others are working together to provide leadership-oriented stories and tips to young women, educators and parents in an effort to open up a conversation about gender bias and the confidence gap between girls and boys.
In an interview with ABC News, Sandberg noted that while she understands that it may be impossible to take "bossy" out of the vernacular entirely, she sees this campaign as a way into a complex and "systemic" issue. "We are not just talking about getting rid of a word even though we want to get rid of a word…We're talking about getting rid of the negative messages that hold our daughters back."
One does not have to look far for statistics that reflect the campaign's mission. Data shows that while women graduate college at a higher rate than men, those gains have not translated to the business world. One in 3 American business-owners are women and last year there were just 23 female Fortune 500 CEOs, according to an infographic compiled by Sage.
The rollout included a PSA featuring Sandberg, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Marie Chávez, Diane von Furstenberg, Condoleeza Rice, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan among others, who state that "by middle school, girls are less interested in leadership than boys. And that's because they worry about bossy." The video closes with Beyoncé intoning confidently, "I'm not bossy. I'm the boss." BBDO New York also put out a similarly themed video showcasing a diverse group of young girls speaking about doubt and ambition.
Since the book's release last March, Lean In's message has garnered both controversy and devoted fans. And a new edition of the book, Lean In: For Graduates will be available in April.
Tell Us: Do you think Sandberg's campaign will be effective? Is the word 'bossy' sending the wrong message to young women? What can schools do promote leadership in both girls and boys?
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.