You could pretty much blow over every search industry professional when the shocking news broke that Marissa Mayer had been named Yahoo’s new CEO and president. Nobody saw it coming, there wasn’t even a hint of a rumor about it (shocking in itself). Probably the biggest news in the industry so far this year.
And about a mere three hours after the news broke, everyone started reporting on her pregnancy. Aside from the jokes – some of them pretty amusing on Twitter of the “At least we know someone will actually be delivering something at Yahoo this year”, there were numerous news stories entirely dedicated not just to the fact she defected from Google to Yahoo (which really should be the news), but the fact she was having a baby.
Fortune was the one to first break the news, New Yahoo CEO Mayer is pregnant, and the headline shares the front page with the one about her being named CEO, although the pregnancy one is below the CEO article link.
TechCrunch sensationalized it with a headline of Marissa Mayer: The First Ever Pregnant CEO Of A Fortune 500 Tech Company?
Now, sure, it is interesting. But so what? So she is pregnant. Does this warrant all these news stories for the implied accusation that she will be taking a ton of maternity leave, not to mention the ruthless comments (and trolls) who are saying no pregnant woman should take a CEO job because her head won’t be in the game for 1 good year. Should women really have to put their careers on hold in this day and age because they are knocked up? Please, this is 2012. Thank God we are past the times of confinement where wives were sent away to the country throughout their pregnancy and months-long post-birth recovery.
To be fair, if she hadn’t broken the news herself about the pregnancy, you know someone else would and try to spin it to his or her own advantage (which probably wouldn’t be to Marissa Mayer’s advantage, to be perfectly honest). So there was a need for her to announce her pregnancy, which came a mere 3 hours after the CEO announcement. And she felt that she also had to announce the length of her maternity leave and the fact she would still be working.
“My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.” (source)
Following Tech Crunch’s speculation about Mayer being the only Fortune 500 CEO ever to be pregnant at the time, the absence of any speculation about any MALE CEOs who have had a baby on the way was conspicuously absent. Is this because people still think women are the baby caregivers while men should be the ones to go off to work? Well Marissa Mayer has knocked down the glass ceiling and this is a huge loss for Google – and goes to show you that Larry Page is just not making the best decisions for the company when he took over the reigns, dropped her from his inner circle of executives and essentially demoted her. Too bad people couldn’t blame impending motherhood on that Larry Page directed shuffle.
Well, to Marissa, I say “You Go Girl!!!” Keep busting down those barriers and ceilings, even with a baby on board and kick some ass. And frankly, the fact that Yahoo had the balls to hire a pregnant 30-something female to head their Fortune 500 company has me cheering for the underdog that is Yahoo. Because being pregnant is not a reason to say someone can’t continue to run a Fortune 500 company, although a few hours off in the delivery room would probably be nice!