Last week, Marissa Mayer announced her pregnancy shortly after the ex-Google Executive was appointed as the new CEO of the ailing Yahoo corporation. Included in this announcement, is a plan for a brief working maternity leave. Shortly after that, a mob of self righteous women across the world felt the need to chime in on another woman’s life, career, and motherhood.
The media world is ablaze with passionate opinions on all sides of this topic. The ongoing question as to if women (i.e. working mothers) can have it all, is again raised. Some are angry because this may set an unreasonable precedent for working women. Others are angry because a man in a similar situation isn’t faced with the same doubts and questions.
I’ve been pregnant while working a demanding career and in between corporate jobs. I’ve faced that threat and notion that I was essentially un-hirable because of my delicate condition. I’ve felt corporate generated low self worth during a period that would otherwise be considered wonderful and miraculous. I’ve hidden pregnancies from colleagues until I could no longer hide it. I’ve faced questions of dedication and work ethic because I took the full allowable leave. I have even had management that should have received sensitivity coaching and even been reprimanded for their words and actions toward women and/or mothers in the work place. I would agree that there is still a great deal of discrimination and ill treatment of pregnant women and working mothers in the work place.
At the end of the day, it is an issue of respect and understanding. It is a matter of evolving one’s preconceived notions of hard working and dedicated team members. Mayer is blessed with an amazing career where she is highly valued and appropriately compensated. With an estimated net worth of over $300M, my guess is she is taking on this position because she wants to. I believe that her personal and professional reasons are hers alone.
Mayer is 37, a dual degree earner from Standford, and 1 of only 20 fortune 500 CEO’s. I breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear, had mid-wives and cook multiple times a week. I also have my own office, manage a multimillion dollar portfolio and do what it takes to meet my employer’s expectations. So I neither hate nor love Melissa Mayer, simply respect her desire to live her life to fullest.