1. Obviously, Marissa Mayer
Last week, Marissa Mayer, an engineer and Google VP, became the new CEO of Yahoo with a milion-dollar salary.
She is expecting her first child in October. It’s impossible not to laud her being the first-ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company (can you imagine anyone typing that a few decades ago?).
Nonetheless, Mayer’s announcement that she will take no more than a “pause” for maternity leave is stirring up a national debate about maternity and paternity leave and the need for workplace accommodations to care for children, not to mention elderly and disabled spouses, partners and relatives. The New York Times points out, women in as prominent a position as Mayer — and ample resources to provide childcare and to flexibility in her schedule — may find that such an “abbreviated leave” suits them and their new status as mothers just fine:
…In interviews, many said that for women at the top of their profession or running their own show, the decision to not take a traditional leave can feel like an empowering choice — and at the same time, not a choice at all.
“You can think of a lot of moms who have more than one child, and do they ever say, ‘I’m going to stop feeding my older child because I have a newborn’?” asked Pooja Sankar, 31, chief executive of Piazza, an online forum for teachers and students to solve problems. Ms. Sankar, who gave birth to her first child three weeks ago, thinks of Piazza as one of her own, too: “I’m the C.E.O. of a company. This ‘child’ depends on me to run, to exist, really.’”
Certainly, plenty of women need to get back to work ASAP and start collecting paychecks. Other women, such as teachers, those in the food-service business and child care workers, “can’t send e-mails from their iPhones and call it ‘working.’”
Amid the debates, we shouldn’t forget what Mayer’s accomplishment says about how far women have come, to the point that they can call the shots — a feat that’s all the more notable in the tech industry, where sexist attitudes still mean that women are under-represented.
Next: Microsoft and the “Big Boobs” Code
Photo by Annie Mole
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