'Cause I'm Bossy

And no, this is not going to be about Kelis’ song.  Sorry about it. However, the song does ring true at times amidst all of the curse words and vulgarity.

I attended the live streaming of Take the Lead last week. Take the Lead was an event held at Arizona State University, discussing the importance of women’s leadership. Speakers such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris, spoke to women across the world about taking fair and equal share of leadership positions.

Listening to these women and a handful of other speakers, I was reminded of the power women have in this world. It’s just the limitations that are yielding the power. Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, touched on the differences between how men and women are viewed as leaders.

What struck a chord with me was when she spoke about how little girls on the playground were “bossy,” while the boys were leaders. I was one of those bossy girls. I had an opinion at a very young age, and I was sure to express it. I remember in a parent-teacher conference, my teacher told my mother that I could be bossy at times. How is it that the boys could take charge in games and activities, but I couldn’t? I didn’t realize this until Sheryl’s speech.

“When we grow up, ‘bossy’ becomes ‘too aggressive.’”

My bossiness grew into was some would call aggressiveness. I have opinions. I have ideas. I’m not afraid to take the lead in a project, because I know I am capable of it. Have I been described as "aggressive"? Yes. Have I been told that I’m "intimidating"? More times than I can count. But the difference between my actions and that of a man’s? There often isn’t any.

Men can have goals and the look of determination in their eyes. It’s almost expected. But for women, it is viewed differently. The same determination is "obsessive."  Having goals other than that of a healthy family is "selfish."

While this is not always the case, white women still only earn 77 cents of every dollar a man makes, with women of color making even less. Less than 5% of women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Though we have come a long way from the beginning of the women’s rights movement, there is still so much unfinished business to be accomplished.

We need to teach young women to take the lead. In doing so, we need support the thoughts and ideas that one day we can be equal in leadership positions. Embrace your inner ‘bossy’ girl and tell yourself you can and will become the leader you have always been.