There are many days when I wish I had been born a corporate psychopath. Watching Marissa Mayer’s first interview since giving birth to her son Macallister two months ago just reaffirmed those feelings.
Mayer is the former Google executive who controversially became Yahoo CEO while six months pregnant and returned to work after two weeks maternity leave.
“The baby’s been easy - way easier than everyone made it out to be,” Mayer told the mainly female audience at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event this week.
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How things have changed. When Jane Maas, a real life Mad Woman among the first wave of females to crack New York adland, started out in the ‘60s, women were were fired if they got pregnant and they were mainly secretaries – and if they did work on accounts it was only for domestic goods - and a client even once asked sympathetically of Maas: “Have you forgotten your steno (stenography/note-taking) pad, dear?’’ She was running the account at the time.
But that was the 1960s, and the women’s movement had yet to flex its typing-toned muscles. Today, it just seems ridiculous that they would be treated this way in the workplace.
Maas was one of the first working mothers in the industry, and despite the fact that its corridors of power were skirt-free zones she toughed it out and has written the tale Mad Women: The other side of Madison Avenue in the 1960s.
She made for fascinating listening on ABC radio recently when she confessed that in the wake of the outlandish hit series Mad Men, she is routinely asked “Were women really treated that badly? Were all those three-martini lunches real and was there all that sex in the office?’’ The answer to all three, she said, was ‘‘most definitely yes’‘.
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