London - Beyonce and Victoria Beckham have joined an international campaign to ban the word bossy, insisting it demeans women.

The Ban Bossy drive, launched by billionaire Facebook boss Sheryl Sandberg, claims the adjective puts down girls and discourages them from being ambitious.

They urged parents and teachers to avoid using the word.

On the campaign’s website, banbossy.com, Mrs Beckham says: “It is thought-provoking that a man in charge may be described as commanding, however, a woman in the same situation may be called bossy.” In a promotional video for the campaign, Beyonce states simply: “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”

Mother-of-two Miss Sandberg said the campaign doesn’t just want to ban the word but get rid “of the negative messages that hold our daughters back”.

She said that she and most of those involved in the campaign had suffered from being labelled bossy at an early age.

British feminist and Justice For Women founder Julie Bindel said: “You never hear the word used against men. It’s ‘she’s getting a bit bossy’. It’s like ‘feisty’ – you never hear that said of men either.”

However, she added: “You need to educate people about terms that are discriminatory. Banning never works.”

Justine Roberts, founder of the Mumsnet website, also opposed banning the word but said we should “think more carefully” before using it.

Ban Bossy’s supporters – which include actress Jennifer Garner, former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg – say girls are called on less by teachers and interrupted more in class, and they are twice as likely as boys to worry that being a leader will make them seem “bossy”.

According to Ban Bossy, the average girl’s self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys between primary and secondary school.

However, critics have suggested that the campaigners’ opposition to the word may say more about them than women in general. - Daily Mail