Nicely coinciding with International Women’s Day, the Ban Bossy campaign is sweeping social media sites across the world, but what’s the campaign all about? CEO of the Girl Scouts of America, Anna Marie Chavez and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg have combined forces to bring about the ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign, in an attempt to discourage dismissive attitudes towards women in positions of power.
With celebrity endorsements from the likes of Beyoncè, Jennifer Garner and Victoria Beckham, the campaign wants to draw light to the fact that many young women are labelled ‘bossy’ and this becomes discouraging when it comes to applying for roles in leadership. The campaign claims that come high school, girls are less likely to take on positions of leadership as they fear they will be stigmatised for being bossy, stubborn or pushy.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said, “I was called bossy when I was in ninth grade. My teacher took my best friend Mindy aside and she said ‘You shouldn’t be friends with Sheryl – she’s bossy’. And that hurt. We call (women) too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They’re bossy as little girls, and then they’re aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women.”
…I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”
In the promotional video for the campaign, the likes of Glee star Jane Lynch and Condoleeza Rice discuss their experiences of being called ‘bossy’ whilst pop superstar Beyoncè states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” Renowned as one of the most powerful women alive, Beyoncè was commended by Barack Obama last year who said she was a role model for his two young daughters.
Although the campaign is an American one, it is hoped that the message will be shared worldwide. Victoria Beckham spoke about the battle to ban the term ‘bossy’ when she said, “It’s thought provoking that a man in charge may be described as commanding, however a woman in the same situation may be called bossy.” She also encouraged her Twitter followers to take up the fight when she shared the link with the phrase “Encourage girls to lead.”
…many of whom support the ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign…
In the Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women list, published last year, the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, JK Rowling and Lady Gaga all make an appearance, many of whom support the ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg herself made number six on the list, making her a perfect spokesperson for the cause. In UK government, there are over 500 male MPs, but a mere 147 female equivalents. According to The Guardian however, there are twice as many females in university education than males – so why are young women not reaching for positions of power?