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8 Really Good Canadian Reasons to Ban Bossy Now

Mar 11, 2014 at 3:01 PM Chime in now

Jennifer Garner Ban Bossy


On Monday, Sheryl Sandberg (of Lean In fame) launched Ban Bossy, a campaign to ban using the word 'bossy' when describing girls, and to encourage leadership qualities in young women. 

"When men and boys lead it goes to their stereotype. When girls or women lead, we react negatively. The way that negative reaction is expressed for little girls is the word 'bossy.' Girls are called bossy four times as much as boys." Sandberg said in an interview with Yahoo.com.

While the focus of the campaign is definitely American in scope, there's a case to be made for us to ban bossy (and promote leadership in girls) in Canada, too. 

When you look at the statistics of working women in Canada, there's still a huge gender disparity. We need to step it up. We need to encourage, and embolden girls to grow up to be the intrepid leaders we know they can be.

But the proof is in the statistics, as they say. Here are eight startling facts about women in the Canadian workforce:

1. As of 2010, Canada ranks 50th for women's participation in politics. Women only make up 23 per cent of the seats in municipal, provincial and federal politics.

2. Only 3 per cent of the top-earning CEOs in Canada are women. (Yikes.)

3. According to Canada's Pay Equity Commission, women still only make 72 cents for every dollar a man makes.

4. Some people are still writing notes like this to women in jobs that were historically held by men.

5. Women may get more university degrees than men now, but female professors still only make up 39 per cent of university professors.

6. Women in Canada are less likely than men to pursue degrees in science, technology, mathematics and computer science in university -- even if they excelled at those subjects in high school.

7.  Only 35.4 percent of management positions and 22.9 per cent of all senior management positions across the country are held by women.  

8. Women make up 47 percent of the law school student population, but the number of practising female lawyers drops to 31.9 per cent.

So, how do we improve on these alarming statistics? Banning bossy isn't a bad start. But we can do more. Teach girls about inspiring Canadian women doing amazing things. Empower them to be confident in their own abilities and choices. And, last but not least, we need to challenge ourselves and adopt leadership in our own lives.

Banning a word can only do so much. But starting a conversation can change the world. 

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