Did you hear that the failing Yahoo hired another CEO? They announced that the young and talented Marissa Mayer, who just happens to be the one in charge of keeping Google’s homepage Google’s HOMEPAGE (among other things), had been chosen for the job President and CEO of Yahoo (YahoooooOOOooo!) on July 16th.
On the same day that Yahoo announced her hiring, Marissa also announced via her twitter that her and her husband were expecting a baby boy. She is 6 months pregnant.
— marissamayer (@marissamayer) July 17, 2012
On July 17th – her first official day of work according to reports – they announced an earnings call and that Marissa Mayer wasn’t going to attend. The report said that she was still getting caught up on the day to day. And then the crowd went ape-shit.
I had saved Twitter evidence to show you all of the yuck (cuz you don’t already know about the yuck, right?) but today those tweets and comments and really really shitty articles can magically no longer be found on the internet. Like Brian Sullivan of CNBC who is now backtracking like a FIEND.
Oh and this article from the Brisbane Times (the world is smaller and smaller) that had a GIANT quote from Cook & Co, the executive search firm saying that
Even though companies know they can’t discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, when they’re looking for very senior hires, they’re still likely to be cautious. If they have two equal candidates, one who’s pregnant and one who isn’t, they are likely to choose the one who’s not about to become a mother.
Then it came out that – not to worry! 1) Yahoo totally knew that she was pregnant before they hired her and 2) she said she would work through maternity anyway. No productivity will be lost! She is superman and after having a major medical event she will hop right back on her blackberry like nothing ever happened.
Which I think is totally fine. If you want to take as much time as you can with your kid before going back to work – you should. And if you want to peace out of maternity leave then that is also your choice. But! If the CEO of Yahoo is working through Maternity (the few weeks she says that she will be working from home), because that’s how she was able to get the job, or because of social/work pressure, then that fucking sucks. It sucks not just for her, but for all the rest of us non-CEO types.
Then I read this MSNBC article called “New Yahoo CEO Says She’ll Work Through Maternity Leave“. MSNBC is a pretty reliable new source. It’s said to be rather liberal and hosts the Today Show! (My beloved Today Show.) So you would imagine my disappointment when I read items like this:
Mayer chose to disclose her pregnancy to the company’s board before she got the final job offer, and the board was supposedly fine and dandy with the news.
Is it me or is that tone of that sentence condescending and a tad bit sarcastic? Supposedly… they were peaches and cream about the whole shebang! Ah yes, she actually HAS a vagina and THEN decided to use it. Stop the presses!
In any case Yahoo’s board is to be applauded for looking beyond Mayer’s pregnancy to the leadership she can provide the company over the long term.
Congratulations Yahoo! You didn’t discriminate against a pregnant woman! Something that is illegal anyway. Pat on the back for you for finding it in your hearts and minds to realize mothers can work hard too. I’m really, really, really tired of congratulating people and companies for NOT doing shitty things. Gold star! Everyone clap for Yahoo! Barf. Why don’t we wait and see if she can actually make a dent in Yahoo’s failing business model – child or not – before we praise anyone about anything.
The MSNBC article does have some interesting facts about how this country doesn’t value women or women’s health though!
Although it is also worth noting that not all women are as lucky as Mayer to even have a maternity leave benefit. (The United States is one of the only industrialized nations without mandated maternity leave.)
I don’t even really know how to end this. It’s frustrating and exhausting that this is such a big discussion. I guess, I want to continue to highlight the fact that discrimination does exist – she got the job, yes, but public opinion (and outrage) is a giant voting booth, and the fact that this generated TONS of articles, negative (and some good) commentary, shows that we really aren’t there yet. My reproduction choices are a place for debate. How should she handle her pregnancy? How should she handle her kid? Will she be less of a CEO because now she is a mom? No one asks these questions about men. No one puts men under the microscope for their family choices (I guess unless they are cheating on their wives or talking about how “the gays” are going to hell and then we find out they are secretly doing it in men’s bathrooms). If you google Marissa Mayor most of the entire front page of the search is allll about how she’s pregnant.
And truly – it’s ridiculously condescending for Yahoo to be congratulated on such a noble LEAP forward when she hasn’t done ANYTHING yet to prove that she can actually fix Yahoo. If we’re talking real equality, that should be the only defining factor when you are hired as a CEO: can you get the job done.