Does the word “bossy” hold girls back? According to a new public service campaign from the Girl Scouts and LeanIn.org, it does. Ban Bossy, which launched yesterday, aims to encourage girls to be leaders, in part by striking the word from our vocabulary.
According to the campaign: “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.'”
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The result can be damaging, both to girls’ self-esteem, and to their future. Girls are more likely to avoid leadership roles for fear of being seen as bossy. By middle school, girls are 25 percent less likely than boys to be interested in leadership, a downward trend which continues into adulthood. The problem extends into the classroom as well, where girls are less likely to be called on than boys, and more likely to be interrupted.
By being conscious of how we talk to—and about—girls, we can encourage them to reach their full potential and put an end to the language and ideas that have held too many girls and women back.
Want to help? Visit banbossy.com to learn more and help spread the word on social media. Download the campaign’s guides for parents, teachers, and troop leaders to get tips and resources for empowering girls to lead.