Germ Bans Bossy


Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, and Jane Lynch are doing it, and now Germ is doing it too.  We’re pledging to Ban Bossy.

Leanin.Org and Girls Scouts of the USA are the masterminds behind the Ban Bossy movement– a public service campaign to empower and encourage leadership in girls.  Why?  As Jane Lynch says, the word bossy “is a squasher.”

That word is one of the reasons girls are less likely to raise their hands in class (and less likely to be called on by teachers).  It also contributes to the fact that a girl’s self-esteem drops 3.5 percent more than that of her male peers between elementary school and high school.  And it’s one reason “getting judged” is a girl’s worst fear.

How many of us, regardless of age, still feel the sting of that word?  How many of us still let it impact our decision to speak up and out?

With the help of Rachel Simmons, co-founder of Girls Leadership Institute, Ban Bossy has come up with leadership tips for girls:

1. Speak up in Class

2. Stop apologizing before you speak

3. Challenge yourself

4. Ask for help

5. Don’t do everyone else’s work

6. Speak up in friendship

7. Trust your inner voice

8. Change the world

9. Remember:  It’s not always easy to speak up, but it’s worth it

10. Practice!

As part of this last challenge, Ban Bossy suggest you do something that makes you nervous every day.  I’m going to do this myself because every now and then my formerly shy self reemerges, the one who doesn’t want to speak too loudly or too strongly in case she might rock the boat or make someone unhappy.

As the wise and wondrous folks behind Ban Bossy say, “the time to start building female leaders is now.” So join the movement!  Post “I will #banbossy” to your social media channels and visit to take the pledge.

Although her dream job is International Rock Star Detective, Jennifer Niven writes books. She is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Germ, which was born out of her first YA novel (and eighth book), ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES (Knopf ’15). She reads as much and as often as she can, hates naps, cold weather, and onions, but loves most everything else, including palm trees, movie popcorn, lip gloss, and boys with guitars. Follow her on twitter, Facebook, tumblr, pinterest, and her very own website, or email her at


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