I recently posted the following image on both my Facebook Group Page and Facebook Page and was overwhelmed by the response…it is clearly something that struck a nerve and so I felt a blog needed to be shared.
I have already a blog on a similar topic but it focused more on the power of language…however in light of the reaction more needed to be explored.
As a child I was often called bossy. I have always liked getting people organised, sharing my opinion and was strongly encouraged to do so by my mother…as I do with my daughter (and son for that matter). One particular incident occurred when I was 4, at kindergarten. My teacher was providing feedback to my mother about something when she said I was very bossy to the other children. Always telling them what to do and being a real ‘bossy-pants’. Well my mother just smiled and said back, well I am glad to hear it, she has leadership qualities.
Fast forward some years and leading people has been part and parcel of my career and one that I have enjoyed. The label not so much.
The truth is we live in a society that has double standards. One thing is OK for men but not women…particularly when it comes to strength, assertiveness and being outspoken. I am a tall woman (6ft 1in (184cm) to be precise…without shoes and I love heels)…and there is NO WAY that I can be a wall flower…apart from the feminist upbringing that I had encouraging me and my voice but physically I understand that I have a presence by sheer height…so I use it to my advantage. I am strong, assertive and have a voice…but many have tried to cut me down. There is nothing wrong with being like this, however I fear the label has stayed around.
One of my first bosses even asked if there was something I could do about my height as he found it very intimidating. I was 20. I thought to myself…no, but is there something we can do about your personality…I never said this and glad that I didn’t as it wouldn’t have been professional nor the right thing to do.
In this clip below, many of these double standards that women face are outlined…
In addition to that there is the campaign to #banbossy which is aimed to educate girls, parents, teachers, managers and top leaders about how the double standards impact girls and subsequently women. Here is great clip from the campaign.
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