Words Said

We’ve all heard them. What are yours?

What words or phrases do you believe should be banned from describing women leaders?

I am sure for most of us the words are too numerous to count. The ones that stand out to me the most are from the people I thought were my gateways to success.   They were the words spoken to me by managers. Words like “unapproachable.” or “You need to lower your standards.” They stung, but they didn’t deter me from continuing to work towards my goals. If anything, they proved that I needed to work a little harder because being in an environment where I wasn’t lifted up was not to be the end of my journey.

What are the words or phrases for you?

I am sure most of you have heard about the campaign to ban the word “bossy”. If not, Google it. It’s a campaign launched by Sheryl Sandberg to empower girls to lead. According to statistics, 75% of girls are less interested in leadership by the time they reach middle school because they don’t want to be perceived as “bossy”. It’s an interesting campaign, but it is only the start. Where is the campaign to ban the words “Bitch”, “Black Widow”, “Angry” and “Unapproachable” as acceptable words for describing women leaders? Does having been put through the adversity of being called “bossy” as children help us to form a thick skin so it doesn’t affect us as much when we are older?

Look, statistics don’t lie and of all the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, less than 5% are women1. What is truly stopping women from breaking into the C-Suite? Does being called “bossy” as a little girl really hold that much impact? Or is it the choices that we are forced to make between our careers and our lives? Say what you will about Sarah Mayer (Yahoo), but the fact that she even had to formulate a plan that encompassed how to maneuver her maternity leave while being CEO of Yahoo is a topic that might require some review.

We are a community of like-minded individuals, who may not all be headed to the same destination, but we are all on a journey. So I ask ….

What are the words or phrases you believe should be banned from describing women leaders?

At the J Spot, I can start the conversation, but it takes your thoughts, ideas and love to make it grow.  So, take the risk, leave a comment below where it says “Leave Your Contribution to the Community…” Let us support you on the journey to finding your passion.

  1. http://www.catalyst.org

In other J. Smith & Co news, I will be launching my new website on Monday, May 5th!  Special shout out to Camille Crisp of Triple C Designs for all of her hard work!  Stay tuned for more details as we get closer!


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