“When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.”
When I was in high school, I ran for, and won, 2 positions in student government. The school didn’t have a problem with my running for both, in fact it was encouraged, celebrated even- “Wow, you’re such a go getter!”. But when I won…tunes changed. The concern administrators expressed was not if I could perform in the roles, it was if I would be perceived as bossy. By my peers who voted me into both positions.
So I took my bossy high schooled self into the principle’s office and made it clear how I would be spending my senior year and that was as Student Council and Class President.
I think we all have some experience with bossy vs leader conversation. I am almost 30 and I still pause before expressing strong opinions in group setting, god forbid I be bossy! But then I think back to that 17 year old girl with nerves of steel and that pause gives way to words because I’m not bossy- I am a leader.
And so are you.