As most of you know, I’m a Sheryl Sandberg fan and have reviewed her book, Lean In on the blog. So when it was announced yesterday that Sandberg had launched a campaign to deter the use of the word “bossy” as it pertains to young girls, I was already on board without knowing much about the new initiative. I didn’t need to hear that Beyonce, Diane von Furstenberg, Condoleezza Rice or Jane Lynch were involved (although that lineup is kinda friggin awesome). I was just excited to learn more about it.
Having read the book, I know exactly where Sandberg is going with this. It all stems back to equality in the work place for women, and what better place to start then by being mindful of the things we say to young girls so that we’re not stifling their possible growth into future leaders? It isn’t just about the word “bossy”. It’s about all the things that are said to young girls that give them the impression that it’s not okay to be ambitious or that it's not okay to want to be leaders. It's about all the things that tell them it’s more important to be liked than to embrace a natural inclination to be a great leader.
Okay, so the title of the campaign “Ban Bossy” weighs a little heavy on the cheesy scale. I’m sure the copywriter who thought of it was focused on the alliteration, so pleased with how it sounded rolling off the tongue that the cheese factor didn’t quite register with him or her but is that reason enough for all of the negative backlash? I don’t know. A contributor for Forbes blasts Sandberg, essentially telling her to get her priorities straight because “There Are Far Worse Things Than Being Called Bossy”. Another site brands the initiative “The stupidest campaign ever”. While I don’t quite know about all that, I will give a little on the call to ban the word. Ban is a hell of a strong word and like I just said it makes the whole thing sound super cheesy (yes, after consideration, I increased the cheese level from a little to super). However, I don’t think we should get caught up in word play. Let’ not let that detract from the intention of the campaign. Fact is, there’s a problem with inequality for women in this country and like Sheryl, we should be attempting to work at the root of the problem to try and resolve it. Rather than bashing a woman who’s trying to do something positive, why not take a deeper look at what she’s trying to accomplish here and try to encourage little girls with leadership skills to strive to be leaders they were born to be. Visit BanBossy.com for more info.
"Let's make power moves ladies." Thanks for reading.
Here’s a great piece on a few women we know that have been called bossy. Among them Anna Wintour, Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Barbara Walters, and more.
So I've finished reading Lean In and boy was it a page-turner (figuratively speaking of course, because I “read” the audio version). First of all, where has this book been all my life? Secondly, shame on me for not picking it up as soon as it was released last March. I can’t even begin to imagine how helpful this book would have been to me about 13 years ago when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. But I digress, so let's get into the present and by present I don't just mean present day I mean the gift that I have given myself by finally making the decision to purchase this book.
So one day while surfing the Internet, I stumbled upon a Ted Talk given by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. Now if you're not familiar with Ted Talks, please get familiar because man, are you missing out. Essentially, Ted Talks are a series of short conferences that are live streamed and then archived on Ted.com. The talks range in subject matter and are given by industry leaders, activists, celebrities and a slew of other influential types. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Robbins and Bono for example, have all given some noteworthy Talks. See Sandberg's Talk below:
But back to the book. Like most self-help books (although Sheryl rejects the idea that Lean In fits this classification) it highlights several things that you very likely would have already known prior to happening upon it in Lean In. The advantage is that the book frames these concepts with relatable scenarios and fact based data. Yes, of course you know that women historically have always gotten paid less than men, but did you know that in 40 years, through all of our fighting and protesting, that we’ve only been able to raise compensation by 18 cents for every dollar. Yes, you know that women often choose family before career but have you thought about how many women do this before they even have a partner in mind for starting that family with? Lean In covers this and many other topics smartly, advising women not to torment themselves with the notion of choosing work over an imaginary family.
Sheryl does a great job of incorporating her own personal stories in along with the stories of other women, juxtaposing the thought provoking anecdotes alongside the cold hard facts. Rarely do we get to delve into the mind of women at the top, especially one as prominent and successful as Sandberg. For this reason, I believe it's beyond advantageous for young, burgeoning, professional women and dream chasers like my self to hear what the race really involves from the perspective of a woman who has already made it and still holds a place on top.
This book is one that I definitely plan to keep in my arsenal and revisit whenever I feel like I need a refresher on the proper moves to make when navigating through this corporate jungle. If you're still unsure about whether or not this one is worth picking up, at minimum, please take a look at Sheryl's Ted Talk above and view some of my favorite excerpts from the book below. Let's make power moves ladies. Thanks for reading.
Women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do. A 2011 McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.
Feeling confident – or pretending that you feel confident – is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché, but opportunities are rarely offered; they’re seized.
We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives; the messages that say it’s wrong to be out spoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.
Please ask yourself : “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” and then go do it.