I found myself in a very strange situation this week – I actually agreed with Sun Columnist and media personality Katie Hopkins on all this furore around banning the word ‘bossy’ for girls and women alike. This campaign is being spearheaded by Sheryl Sandberg and I cannot help but think this is just another empty media campaign to raise her profile as a champion for women in the workplace.
Hopkins says ‘trying to protect girls by banning things, like words, will not help. Equipping them to deal with the tough stuff is far more effective. Teaching a vocabulary they can use to promote and project themselves is far wiser than pointing out words some don’t like and lecturing others not to use them.’ And I agree.
To say that the thought of being seen as bossy is holding girls back and turning them off leadership positions is a massive sweeping statement and I am not sure it is backed up by ANY research or facts?
To be honest being seen as bossy does not seem to have held Sandberg back nor any of the other women she has harnessed to sell the message on her campaign VT including Beyoncé who simply says ‘I am not bossy, I am the boss’ don’t cha just love her!
Whilst I appreciate the sentiments of Sandberg’s latest rant I cannot help but feel talk is cheap, I asked for her support for Girls Out Loud when she first published her book Lean In and discussed her passion to encourage more girls to lean in to their careers, the reply from her campaign office was classic- thanks, you are doing great work now can you set up a lean in circle for your network? Really? How does that inspire girls then?
Young girls need role models, successful women, comfortable in their own skin, willing to share they stories, warts and all. It isn’t all rosy out there and girls need confidence, self esteem and resilience to carve their own path. We are doing them a disservice if we pretend the battle is won and all they have to do is change a few words in their vocabulary and leadership positions will be without challenges!
If you are such a role model and interested in changing the landscape for teenage girls have a look at www.girlsoutloud.org.uk we do more than talk!