July 18, 2012

Marissa Mayer just became Yahoo’s new CEO. Just another female, C-level exec in the tech industry. Would seem like old news following Sheryl Sandberg. But Mayer is special because she is pregnant with her first child due in October. So pregnant female CEO. It’s a big deal – to a lot of people. As CNET puts it, she ” is a new breed of woman in technology and business and — as a pregnant CEO — a role model of the highest order”.

Penelope Trunk, however, had a different opinion. And I love Trunk’s females and work (despite that she seems crazy sometimes). She says,

“Why do we celebrate Mayer’s decision? Why does Mayer fight for all women? You know why people don’t like to hire pregnant women? Because it is completely normal to have a new baby and be so consumed by the new baby that you divert lots of energy to that baby. In fact, it would be abnormal to not divert a significant amount of energy to a new baby.

So why do we celebrate women who are aberrations? Clearly only a minority of women could even dream of making the choice to take two weeks maternity leave when they have enough resources to take much more. Her decision is an anomalous decision.”

Holy cow. Two weeks maternity leave. Only two weeks off when the first child is BORN – which is probably one of the biggest events in both their lives. That’s like the holidays in December. Or “I got really sick with the flu, possibly mono”. At least in my opinion, that doesn’t even count as a maternity leave. Not to even think about any complications (for mom or baby) that could arise. That’s crazy to me.

CNET included a video in their article – it’s Mayer talking about women in tech. And about halfway through, she’s discussing how she thinks burnout is a result of resentment. Specifically, your job causing you to miss other parts of your life. Now here she is – about to be a new mother and taking on a job, which we can all agree, will have crazy hours.  So I wonder, how much will Mayer feel she’s missing out on in her child’s life? And if she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything – why choose to have a kid you never see? Or maybe she really will be able to “do it all”? (cough, doubtful)

Extra: this article was also good, though not at all focused on Mayer being a female and therefore not connected to this post much at all.


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