She’s a Leader, Not a Loudmouth

I rarely rant on here anymore. There were days, long ago, when I used my blog as a platform to blast my personal opinion. But since my career in DECA and more professional fields began, I try to keep things as subtle as possible for the sake of being seen as a neutral party, especially since I now coach students.

However, I think this one has to be discussed.

This has been a hot topic of discussion for a while, particularly since Sarah Palin’s 2008 VP nom, but why is it that women and men,¬†are taught so differently about how to be a leader, and are subsequently covered in the media in two very contrasting lights?

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I think what’s fueled this fire recently is the mid-September news story of a Frisco ISD (TX) elementary school that decided to separate out their 4th and 5th grade boys and girls with school councelors to teach them each different life lessons each month. A newsletter sent to parents was not very clear, and made it seem like the topics each month were ONLY going to be taught to the boys or girls of that grade, and would not then be shared with the other groups.

The first two topics? Career and college prep for the boys, and confidence building and relationships for the girls.

While a corrected newsletter was sent out clarifying to parents that all groups would be taught the same topics of career prep the first month, and in later months would learn the same topics in different orders, the story picked up national coverage (SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, of all publications, did a story on it, questioning why the school felt the need to separate the groups in the first place, and who decided that those two topics couldn’t be taught at the same time to both the boys and girls.

My question, though, is why is it not the norm to teach girls leadership skills in the first place?

As someone who has served in leadership positions since high school, I would be lying to say there have been times when people have assumed my male counterparts were the president when I was, or, more recently, that I was a high school student when in reality I was actually their coach – an assumption that I’ve noticed is less often made when men my age are in suits.

But the other thing I have noticed is much more common is that when women serve in leadership positions, and they do begin to delegate tasks or assert their power as a leader, they’re not seen as a boss – they’re seen as a bitch.

And while this may be something that has to do with the short time it’s been since women were allowed to hold executive positions – only in the last 100 years did we attain the right to vote, much less hold office or have a corner office – but it’s an issue that has to change.

One of my favorite quotes on the topic is from a female executive who’s been making waves the last few years: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

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Today, we associate bossy and feminine as negative – and that’s not going to change until our view on women in power changes first.

Just some ranty food for thought for the evening.

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