Sheryl Sandberg, Beyonce want to ban the word 'bossy'

Author and COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg.

Author and COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has recruited high profile friends including Beyonce, Condolezza Rice, Jennifer Garner and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to feature in a campaign to ban the word 'bossy' to describe women.

Sandberg has long criticised the use the of the word "bossy" to describe young girls who are assertive. Instead, the Facebook COO has urged people to forgo the word with all its negative connotations, and instead describe these girls as 'feminist' or displaying 'executive leadership skills.'

The launch of the campaign marks one year since the release of Sandberg's best-selling manual for women at work, Lean In where she described her own experience growing up in an environment where she was told to pipe down.


She told the Wall Street Journal, “When I was in junior high and running for class vice president, one of my teachers pulled my best friend aside to warn her not to follow my example: "Nobody likes a bossy girl," the teacher warned. 

Sandberg believes the label contributes to creating a mind-set where girls don't want to take on leadership roles, "by middle school girls are less interested in leadership than boys and that's because they re worried about being labelled bossy," she says. 


The influential women that appear in the public service announcement created for the campaign list the words that have been used to describe them in the past including "pushy" and stubborn."

Beyonce ends the clip with the statement, "I'm not bossy, I'm the boss."

"We need to recognise the many ways we systematically discourage leadership in girls from a young age — and instead, we need to encourage them," Sandberg said in a statement. "So the next time you have the urge to call your little girl bossy? Take a deep breath and praise her leadership skills instead."

The social media hashtag tied to the campaign #banbossy is currently trending on both Facebook and Twitter.