Are We Teaching Our Daughters To Be Nice Instead of Leaders?

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We call our little girls bossy. Go to a playground: Little girls get called ‘bossy’ all the time, a word that’s almost never used for boys. And that leads directly to the problems women face in the workforce. When a man does a good job, everyone says, ‘That’s great.’ When a woman does that same thing, she’ll get feedback that says things like, ‘Your results are good, but your peers just don’t like you as much’ or ‘maybe you were a little aggressive.’ “Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

I was once pulled aside by one of my previous bosses and told, “You’re doing great and the numbers are looking wonderful but you need to place less demands on your employees. And I don’t like it when you disagree with me.”  He would of never thought of saying the same things to my male predecessors and counterparts.  Yet it was an important piece of advice he felt compelled to give me.

I was reminded of Ms. Sandberg’s quote and of my personal experience when my I was recently reprimanding my daughter.  She was in the back seat of the car recounting to her amigas how a boy in her class was being rude.  She decided to correct and threaten him until he stopped.  I immediately jumped into the conversation to reproach her for being mean to another child and bullying.  Looking back on it, I wonder if that was the correct course of action.


I’m not condoning threatening or bullying of any kind.  But I wonder, if I had witnessed the same situation between a group of boys would I have taken the same action?  And, by telling my daughter to ignore this child instead of standing up to him, am I upholding traditional gender roles and teaching her to be meek, passive and insecure?

I do think how we teach our tweens to handle difficult situations now will shape the way they react to  similar situations in the future workplace.  So what’s the right answer?  I believe it lies somewhere between teaching our children to respect each other while still standing up for themselves.  It’s not an easy lesson to learn or put into practice but so important. What are your thoughts?  Hablamos!

AND, for our Los Tween’s moms, visit Get Raised to find out if you are being underpaid, create a customized raise request letter and receive crucial support as you negotiate your raise.  There is nothing more important for our daughter’s than setting the example!




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