Two public service campaigns are gaining attention in the media recently, due to the strong message they are sending to young women; “Ban Bossy” led by Lean In and the Girl Scout Research Institute, and “Girls Can” led by Cover Girl. Both campaigns are endorsed by many successful celebrity women to encourage leadership and achievement in girls.
"Ban Bossy," endorsed by Beyonce Knowles, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Condoleezza Rice and others, addresses the notion that young girls are more likely to stand back and let boys take the lead/speak up in school because they are afraid of how they will be perceived by others. The team at "Ban Bossy" wants to discourage the use of the word "bossy" which is often used to describe females in a leadership role. Statistics show that by middle school, girls are 25% less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead in the fear of not being liked. The "Ban Bossy" campaign recognizes that it is not always easy for girls to raise their hand in class, to speak up in support of their beliefs, or take the reins on a new project. But the leadership skills gained in the process are the same ones that will be used throughout life. The time to start building female leaders is now.
The second campaign, "Girls Can," launched by Cover Girl, and endorsed by celebrity powerhouses like Katy Perry, Pink, Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah, encourages young women to take on challenges, break down barriers and turn "can'ts into can's." In their Cover Girl commercial the ladies demonstrate how wrong the people who doubted them, were when they said they "couldn't." They give examples of things they were told they "couldn't do," a fact underscored in the commercial which goes on to illustrate their many accomplishments. What's more, the ad gives girls tips on how they can achieve their own dreams by being courageous and just being ... "yourself."
Let’s face it, young girls can be so mean to each other. Instead of cheering each other on, they are often jealous, catty and competitive; ultimately tearing each other down. We want our girls to get it in their heads that they can do whatever they set their minds to, and we want to help build the confidence they need to be leaders without worrying that others don't like what they have to say. Why not encourage and help our daughters practice these leadership skills when they are young?
As with many campaigns like these, there are folks bringing negative attention and picking apart not only the messages the campaigns are bringing, but the celebrities endorsing them. Why can't we bring attention to and celebrate the positive messages that are being sent to our daughters and granddaughters; messages of encouragement to do great things, instead of picking it apart?