Just in time for Women’s History Month, three powerful female figures are teaming up to ban the word bossy, a negative label they say is too often applied to young girls.
In a new public service campaign, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA Anna Maria Chávez empower girls of all ages to speak their mind and embrace leadership roles.
The powerful trio explained why the cause is so dear to their hearts in the latest issue of Parade magazine. Sandberg said she was never shy about raising her voice, but teachers often said the trait wasn’t admirable. “She’s too aggressive, too bossy,” she recalled a faculty adviser telling her in the ninth grade. “You don’t want to be bossy.”
Check out experts from the ladies’ conversation with Parade below and tell us your thoughts in the movement in the comment section!
How they were encouraged to achieve in their careers.
Condoleezza Rice: “My parents elected me president of the family when I was 4. … I would call meetings where we’d decide things like what color to paint the living room. As I got older, I realized that what my parents were doing was sending messages about leadership potential.”
Anna Maria Chávez: “Instead of teaching me how to cook, my mother taught my brothers how to cook, and me how to run a board meeting.”
Sheryl Sandberg: “I, too, had supportive parents who told me I could do everything. But the rest of the messages I got from society were pretty negative on leadership.”
Would a female president help change the status quo?
CR: “I think it would be terrific. I really look forward to that day.”
SS: “I’d vote for Condi!”
CR: “Well, thanks, but you’re not going to get that chance. It is important, though, that women are inside the central committees of our party leadership—that they run for statehouse, for Congress. There is an expected road into [the presidency].”
Are girls today ready?
SS: “Women still represent only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. And more worrisome is that the number has been stagnant for a decade. What hasn’t changed fast enough is our acceptance and encouragement of female leadership. That goes for all of us—parents, teachers, managers, society, everyone.”
AMC: “They are ready to lead. I see girls lobbying town hall to build a safer crosswalk for their elementary school. My world, when I was a kid, was my backyard. Their world is the globe. It’s time.”