Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes’


Women leaders’ campaign to end “bossy” label for strong women

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Confident girls are often called the other B-word, and it can keep them from reaching their full potential, write Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook) and Anna Maria Chávez (CEO, Girl Scouts, USA) on March 8, 2014, Wall Street Journal.

We were bossy little girls.

Sheryl: When my brother and sister describe our childhood, they will say that I never actually played as a child but instead just organized other kids’ play. At my wedding, they stood up and introduced themselves by explaining, “Hi, we’re Sheryl’s younger brother and sister … but we’re not really her younger brother and sister. We’re her first employees—employee No. 1 and employee No. 2.”

From a very young age, I liked to organize—the toys in my room, neighborhood play sessions, clubs at school. When I was in junior high and running for class vice president, one of my teachers pulled my best friend aside to warn her not to follow my example: “Nobody likes a bossy girl,” the teacher warned. “You should find a new friend who will be a better influence on you.”

Anna: The Latino community of my childhood had clear expectations for each gender: Males made decisions, and females played supporting roles. My brothers and I used to play war with the neighborhood kids. Each child was assigned to a team to prepare for battle. As the only girl, I was always sent to collect ammunition (red berries from nearby trees). One day, I announced that I wanted to lead the battalion. The boys responded, “You are really bossy, Anna, and everyone knows a girl can’t lead the troops.”

Fortunately, I saw my mother break this mold by running for our local school board. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood was hearing people come up to my father and say that it was inappropriate for his wife to run for office … and having him tell them that he disagreed and was proud of her.

(more…)

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