The readers’ forum

There’s good reason to ban “bossy”


There has been much conversation around “Ban Bossy,” the recent campaign launched by Sheryl Sandberg’s and the Girl Scouts.

On one side, there are those that feel that nobody has the right to ban a word from the dictionary. The problem is that folks are missing the point and the essence of the message “Ban Bossy.” They shouldn’t be taking the words literally. These organizations are doing what no other women’s rights campaign has done in decades. They have started a conversation about the visible gender gap that exists, specifically in the areas of leadership and professional development.

The numbers don’t lie. Women make up 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. Overall, it is 5 percent or lower for the top listed companies in the world regardless of industry. In U.S. politics, women hold 99 seats of the 535 seats in Congress and the percentage is about the same in the Senate.

According to a recent study by American University and Loyola Marymount University, Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition, more than 2,100 college students between the ages of 18 and 25 were surveyed and said that the main reason young women chose not to run for elected positions stems from a variety of the following factors:

• Young men are more likely than young women to be socialized by their parents to think about politics as a career path.

• From school experiences to peer associations to media habits, young women tend to be exposed to less political information and discussion.

• Young men are more likely to have played organized sports and care about winning.

• Young women are less likely to think they will be qualified to run for office, even once they have established careers.

According to the Girl Scouts Research Institute, the confidence gap starts young. Between elementary school and high school, a girl’s self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than a boy’s although this trend has been changing because of mentoring programs.

As a Hispanic — and outspoken — woman, I cannot count the times I have been called bossy. The first time was in kindergarten. I decided to organize my classmates in a line during a field trip and haven’t forgotten the teacher’s admonition: “Stop being so bossy, get in line and mind your business.” Obviously, my leadership skills started at an early age, but being called bossy when I was 5 years old made the word sound negative.

I have never heard a boy or man being called bossy — they are called a boss. The campaign is about gender parity. Taking the negative out of the word reinforces the message that girls can lead and choose career paths that prepare them for leadership positions.

Irela Bagué, past president,

Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida,


Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Respect is missing

    I remember, 32 years ago, as a new wife and stepmother, saying to my new family: "You don't have to love me, but you are going to respect me in this house." Anything worthwhile takes time, patience and respect for others and their personal frame of reference. That is sorely absent in our world today, especially from those for whom they are of the utmost importance.

  • The readers’ forum

    The Americans with Disabilities Act opened doors

    July 26 marked the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark law passed in 1990 that for the first time in our history created nationwide standards for combating discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, telecommunications relay services and government activities.

  • Lure of free money

    If Joy-Ann Reid were honest, she would tell folks that the ACA was written by Democrats specifically to prevent people who enroll in the federal exchange from receiving subsidies, as subsidies would be available only in the state run exchanges. The Democrats thought the lure of free money would encourage the states to set up their own exchanges. This was no drafting error, as plainly seen by the wording of the act, which in several sections clearly stated that subsidies would be for state exchanges only. Democrats wrote and passed this bill, apparently without reading it.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category