Yahoo boss leaves the “have it all” naysayers in her dust
For weeks now the internet has been groaning under the weight of think pieces about working mothers and whether we can “have it all.” Ever since this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic warning younger women of the perils of combining top-flight careers and parenting hit our inboxes, women have been examining if we even asked for “it all” and if we did, if we were mad.
Then this afternoon news broke that made the whole debate seem very June 2012. A 37-year-old woman called Marissa Mayer has just been named the new CEO of Yahoo. This in itself was noteworthy but not amazing. What is a bit amazing, though, is that as Yahoo announced her appointment, Mayer announced she was pregnant - due to give birth to a boy on October 7.
She’s six months in and Yahoo clearly didn’t care. In making this appointment the company has made a very public statement on its priorities. It wanted the right person for the job, her personal situation is up to her.
Now we are not talking about your typical working mother-to-be here. Marissa Mayer lives in the penthouse of the Four Seasons in San Fransisco, so it’s doubtful she’s ever had to come home from a long day at the office and make the bed, put on a load of washing, and examine the fridge in the vain hope there might be some edible left-overs in there she’s forgotten about.
This is a woman who will be able to afford a round-the-clock crack team of nannies if that’s what she wants. But she hasn’t said what her plans are. Maybe her husband Zack Bogue is going to stay home with the baby.
Maybe her Mum’s moving in. Maybe Yahoo has started constructing a nursery on the side of her office. She’ll work it out.
The point is Yahoo has judged Mayer’s significant talents and experience to be of great enough value to hire her three months out from a profound physical and emotional event in her life.
And she has enough confidence in her personal and professional skills to take on the job - both of them.
She clearly hasn’t heeded Slaughter’s warning.
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