Sheryl Sandberg’s ninth grade teacher once called her out for being too aggressive and too “bossy.”
People use the word to describe someone who likes giving orders, someone they consider pushy or domineering. The word is inherently negative, and yet it is almost always only applied to women. While man is a “boss,” a woman is “bossy.”
Thankfully, Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sandberg didn’t let that early criticism stop her from continuing to be a strong leader.
Now, Sandberg is teaming up with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and CEO of the Girl Scouts Anna Maria Chávez to launch a public service campaign called “Ban Bossy,” according to a Parade Magazine interview.
Because of the negativity built into the word and its potential to stop girls from pursuing leadership roles, they want to strike it from common vernacular and empower women and young girls.
“Women still represent only 5 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs. And more worrisome is that the number has been stagnant for a decade,” Sandberg told Parade. “What hasn’t changed fast enough is our acceptance and encouragement of female leadership. That goes for all of us — parents, teachers, managers, society, everyone.”
They hope the Ban Bossy campaign will not only start an open dialogue about women in leadership and their obstacles, but help inspire young girls to speak up and seek out leadership roles early.