fashion statements

Why Is an Ambitious Woman Considered Taboo?

The statistics on women in positions of power are pretty grim: We make up a mere 17 percent of Congress, and even less hold high-level roles in most industries (only 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are female). And often, when women assert themselves in male-dominated systems, they’re portrayed in a negative light. Designer Tory Burch is taking that notion to task, asking why the word “ambitious” is frequently seen as a negative with regard to women and the workplace. Coinciding with International Women’s Day and tomorrow’s women’s strike, Tory Burch is releasing a campaign addressing the double-edged sword of being known as the “overly ambitious” woman, encouraging her fellow females to instead embrace the title. The idea behind the initiative arose after the designer found herself avoiding the label. “In my first interview with the New York Times in 2004, when the reporter mentioned the word ‘ambitious,’ I commented that the word annoyed me. A friend of mine said, ‘You should never shy away from that word.’ She was right.”

Helping Burch spread the message are celebrities like Kerry Washington, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Wintour, and Reese Witherspoon and sports legends Laila Ali, Billie Jean King, and Gabby Douglas. #EmbraceAmbition-emblazoned bracelets and T-shirts will also be available for purchase in support of the campaign, with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to women aiming to grow and fund their businesses through the Tory Burch Foundation. You can take the official pledge by uploading a photo to the site. Scroll below to watch the full PSA.

Why Is an Ambitious Woman Considered Taboo?