Sheryl Sandberg Calls for Educators and Parents to #BanBossy

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To celebrate the one-year anniversary of her popular book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has started a new campaign to ban what she calls “the other B-word”: bossy. In an editorial written for the Wall Street Journal, Sandberg explains how calling young girls “bossy” can undermine their desire to occupy leadership positions in the future, something that has caused the huge discrepancy between men and women in major leadership roles around the world.

In Lean In, which was spawned from a popular TED Talk Sandberg gave in 2010, she calls for women to embrace career ambition without fear. “The problem is this: Women are not making it to the top of any profession, anywhere in the world,” she says. Both the lecture and her book seek to figure out why this is and what women can do about it.

Sandberg’s philosophy encourages women to “own their own success” and stop being hesitant to ask for the things their male peers are accustomed to asking for. She simultaneously acknowledges her own self-doubts, recognizing that if successful women share that they too have insecurities and moments where they question their own abilities, other women will feel more capable of both pursuing success and taking credit for it when they get it.

Now Sandberg is turning her focus toward young girls with the hope that if girls aren’t punished for their ambitions from a young age, more will grow into women who are willing (or even encouraged) to pursue leadership positions. If girls who speak up, are assertive, or display other leadership qualities aren’t demeaned by being called “bossy,” then they may continue striving to be leaders rather than shrinking away from such roles under social pressure.

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