By now you’ve heard that the new CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, also happens to be six months pregnant with her first child.
I’ve been torn between two reactions:
1. Dang! That is so cool!
2. She’s only taking “a few weeks” maternity leave?
OK, I will try to suspend my disbelief. Maybe that will work for her. Maybe she’s superhuman, and she’s going to luck out with a healthy baby who sleeps through the night. Or maybe she has no idea what she’s getting into. At least, she doesn’t know any more than you or I did when we were pregnant with our first babies.
It will be interesting to see how the whole thing unfolds. I hope everything works out for Marissa Mayer. I also hope that other new moms at Yahoo won’t feel pressured by the boss’s example to cut their maternity leaves short.
I don’t envy the pressure Mayer is under. Some people are calling her a role model, while others are complaining about her taking any maternity leave at all.
Here’s one response to the announcement about her hire:
“Talk about lousy timing. She’ll be taking maternity leave when she needs to be at work. Yahoo has enough problems without a part-time CEO,” one commenter said…
[Quick aside: Last I checked a whole bunch of full-timers were steering the ship at Yahoo, and that hasn't kept the company from losing revenue, market share, and talent. Can we stop acting like doing a good job requires consistently working long hours? After all, decades of research shows that working long hours quickly leads to bad decisions and negative productivity.]
Then I read this post that my friend Laura sent (Thanks, Laura!), by the ever-controversial Penelope Trunk: Marissa Mayer becomes CEO of Yahoo, and proves women cannot have it all
I found this part refreshing, even if I don’t agree with all of it:
…I’m so sick of people saying that women like Marissa Mayer are trailblazers when they take on huge corporate responsibility instead of taking care of young kids at home. Leaving kids at home so you can do a big job at the office is old news. People have been doing it for decades.
Marissa Mayer is very Sheryl Sandberg: smart, driven, hard working, a high achiever. She represents all the things that we celebrate in our culture.
Do you know what we do not celebrate? Staying home with kids…
Trunk points out that although many are calling Mayer a “role model,” she’s an anomaly. Most mothers would prefer to work part time than full time. (Can I have an amen to that?) A true “role model” for women would be a mother who works part-time.
Sure, Mayer certainly does not represent us all, but I hold out the hope that having more women in leadership roles like Mayer can only make life better for the rest of us in the long run.
And you have to delight in the image of a CEO running a big important meeting with her hands folded across her nine-month round belly. Or ending a meeting early so she can go pump. (I guarantee she will not be pumping in a bathroom or a closet as many of us have.)
Speaking of anomalies:
If fewer than 4 out of 100 Fortune 500 CEOs are women, what are the chances of a Fortune 500 CEO being a pregnant woman?
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