Strong, not bossy

A girl starts to put up her hand in class to answer a question but quickly decides against it.

It’s not that she doesn’t know the answer or has forgotten what she was going to say.

She doesn’t want to be called the “B” word — bossy.

A recent story in The Mash — The Chicago Tribune’s newspaper and website written by teenagers — details how being called “bossy” instead of other words like confident or assertive can really hold women back.

“Sometimes, I know I have the right answer in class, but I don’t raise my hand because I don’t want to be obnoxious,” Downers Grove North junior Emily Grigg told The Mash. “Once I started learning more about gender socialization and how women are expected to be more timid, I’ve tried to make myself speak up more, but it’s hard for me because it’s something I’ve held back on for most of my life.”

Writers Chloe Rappe and Abbe Murphy argue that women can reclaim the word “bossy” and turn it into an empowering characteristic.

Their story is timely as today is International Women’s Day.

Here at Hamilton Business, we’ve also focused our March cover story on women — particularly around leadership and the barriers some women face in reaching the top.

We spoke with a CEO, a professor, a university student and a handful of others about why this is still an issue in 2016 and what can be done to create change.

Stay tuned for the story out in Hamilton Business on March 9.

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