LeanIn.Org and Girl Scouts Launch "Ban Bossy" Public Service Campaign

"Ban Bossy" Goal: To Encourage Leadership and Achievement in Girls

Mar 10, 2014, 09:00 ET from LeanIn.Org

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PALO ALTO, Calif., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- LeanIn.Org and Girl Scouts of the USA today launched Ban Bossy, a public service campaign to encourage leadership and achievement in girls. The campaign—with educational materials, a new website, a public service announcement (PSA) and endorsements by celebrities and others—will draw attention to the ways girls and women are discouraged from leading, beginning when girls are called "bossy." It will offer educational resources to help girls and women take the lead and give parents, teachers, troop leaders and managers hands-on strategies for supporting female leadership. The campaign is promoting the #banbossy hashtag to spread the word.

Starting at a surprisingly young age, girls are discouraged from leading. When a little boy asserts himself, he is called a "leader." Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded "bossy"—a precursor to words like "aggressive," "angry" and "too ambitious" that are often used to describe strong female leaders. It's no wonder that by middle school, girls are less interested in leadership roles than boys, a trend that continues into adulthood and reduces the ranks of women at the top of organizations everywhere.

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

"Girls are twice as likely as boys to avoid leadership roles for fear of being disliked or deemed 'bossy' by their peers," added Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. "At Girl Scouts, we want to bring adults and girls together to empower girls as our next generation of leaders. Abandoning 'bossy' is a great start."

As part of the campaign, Lifetime Television has partnered with LeanIn.Org to create and produce an original Ban Bossy PSA to air on the network, with appearances by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Jane Lynch, Diane von Furstenberg, Sandberg and Chávez. The video is available here and the embed code is: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6dynbzMlCcw?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

In addition, BBDO New York served as Ban Bossy's pro bono creative agency partner, developing a video that highlights the price we pay for discouraging girls from leading. The video is available here and the embed code is: <iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/B1q1CiuCET8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The Ban Bossy campaign will be hosted on a new website, BanBossy.com. Here you can pledge to Ban Bossy, share facts and figures on girls' leadership, read Ban Bossy quotes from influencers including Michelle Obama, Madeleine Albright, Melinda Gates, Geoffrey Canada, Maria Shriver, Marc Morial, Senator Ayotte and Senator McCaskill and celebrities including Alicia Keys, Jane Fonda, Janelle Monáe, Billie Jean King, Tory Burch, Christiane Amanpour, Katie Couric, and Chelsea Handler and download our leadership tips with practical advice on how to encourage girls and women to lead at home, school and work.

The tips, developed by Girls Leadership Institute co-founder Rachel Simmons and LeanIn.Org, with input from Andrea Bastiani, a developmental psychologist at the Girl Scouts of the USA and Stanford sociologist Marianne Cooper, are tailored for girls (Spanish version available here), parents (Spanish version available here), teachers (Spanish version available here), Girl Scout Troop Leaders (Spanish version available here) and managers.

"Ban Bossy wants to change the messages we send girls," explains LeanIn.Org co-founder and President Rachel Thomas. "There are simple but powerful things we can do everyday to encourage girls to step forward and take the lead. We teach our daughters their multiplication tables; we need to teach them to flex their leadership muscles."

Many organizations and individuals have already pledged their support for Ban Bossy.  Promotional partners including Teach for America, Common Sense Media, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Edmodo, KIPP, AARP, Free The Children, Kids in the House, UrbanSitter, Babble, BlogHer, Upworthy, BBYO, Pantene and Always® Feminine Care brand are distributing the Ban Bossy Tips to their audiences. Getty Images, which recently partnered with LeanIn.Org to debut the Lean In Collection—a stock photo library devoted to powerful imagery of women and girls—has also expanded the collection with new images focused on girls' leadership, searchable under the term "BanBossy." 

LeanIn.Org and Girl Scouts of the USA believe the time to start building female leaders is now. We hope people everywhere will join us to Ban Bossy—and encourage girls and women to lead. They can do so by posting "I will #banbossy" to their social media channels and visiting banbossy.com to take the pledge and learn more.

About LeanIn.Org:

LeanIn.Org is the nonprofit organization founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to empower all women to achieve their ambitions. LeanIn.Org offers inspiration and support through an online community, free expert lectures and Lean In Circles, small peer groups who meet regularly to learn and grow together. More than 385,000 women and men have joined the LeanIn.Org community and started more than 15,000 Lean In Circles in over 50 countries since the organization was launched in March 2013 following the release of the bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. LeanIn.Org is a private operating nonprofit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3).

About Girl Scouts of the USA:

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer or reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 800-GSUSA-4-U (212-852-8000) or visit www.girlscouts.org.

CONTACT: press@leanin.org

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