Marissa Mayer

The news that Google’s employee number 20, Marissa Mayer, is the newest CEO of Yahoo was quickly followed by the news that she’s also pregnant. Some say it’s a sign that our workplace culture is shifting to become more family-friendly. But many point out the ways our workplaces still fall short in the work-life juggle.

Guests:
Joan Williams, distinguished professor of law and founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, author of "Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter" and co-author of the study "The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict"
Hanna Rosin, co-founder of The XX Factor, Slate's website on women, and author of the forthcoming book "The End of Men: and the Rise of Women"
Jessica Grose, contributing writer to The XX Factor

  • Valerie

    Mothers need to be home with the family.  That’s that.  We’ve tried it every way imaginable.  It’s just nature.  Women nurture, men secure.  The only time I feel 100% is when I’m home taking care of and spoiling w/love, my husband and child.  : )  I think they love it too. I’ve got a measly 18 years for them. It’s an investment that pays constantly.  

    • Sandra

      And you base this on a sample size of 1?

    • Jessica

      What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for every woman. After six weeks of maternity leave I was beyond ready to go back to my job … without my very-rewarding career in the nonprofit sector I doubt that I, personally, would feel 100%!

    • RegularListener

      Reality check to Valerie: many, many, many American women cannot afford to do this because businesses do not pay them and/or their spouses/partners enough money for them to be stay-at-home mothers. They HAVE to work & “that’s that.”  Are you willing to subsidize low-earning mothers so they can stay at home for their kids & menfolk? (That was what the old AFDC welfare policy was about. Clearly most Americans were NOT willing to subsidize low-income women in this way so they could look after their kids & partners since they abolished this system and implemented TANF, a welfare system that forces low-income mothers to work as much as possible).

      The other glaring reality you overlook is that many women experience physical abuse from their partners, and to protect their own lives and health, and often that of their children as well, they have to have an alternative to life with these abusive men. And the only way they can do this is if they can work and be paid enough to live without them. Because of the extent of poverty & abuse of females, unfortunately, many women will never find a man who either can support her economically  by himself, or will do so without abusing her. The dubious stereotypes that you and many others promote about women needing to nurture only make it more difficult for these women, who have to work for economic or physical survival, to be get decently-paid work..

  • Rhet

    People who have jobs in this economy are being told they need to work longer hours. Smart companies are making that easy by including facilities onsite like decent food and nap rooms and daycare. But employees don’t seem to appreciate it, as even HR people complain about always being at work. It’s the FoxConn model: The company becomes a city, and probably one that is 80% males. As for Mayer, I don’t know how bathing a fetus in its mother’s stress hormones is going to help it, unless the goal is to anneal the poor thing and give birth to a sword.

  • Noelle

    Mayer will do fine: she has plenty of money and can hire nannies and housekeepers. I doubt she will take time off.

    • Rufus

       During the time the baby is inside her, it will enjoy all of the stress hormones. You can’t ignore the biological effect that have on the developing fetus. Is the money really worth it?

      • Sandra

        A pregnant woman can also get stressed out driving in traffic. So you are saying women should quit going places because of stress hormons? That’s a bit much out of proportion.

        • Rufus

          Yours is an irresponsible response.  Clearly a CEO of a major international company who is in the hot seat because she needs to turn a company around is in a vastly more stressful situation than is a person in traffic.

          Is this what feminism has sunk to? The willful destruction of human being to satisfy greed and power lust?

          • Beth

            That is one ignorant comment.  Most women at some time in their pregnancy will have some stress.  And dont forget that some moms do yoga, eat healthy, and these also help make healthier babies.  And what about the women who work in hard labour jobs, like harvesting the food you eat, or as trauma physicians or teachers who deal with troubles children? Are the also doing some type of willful destruction of the fetus? 

          • Rufus

             Yoga reduces stress, and pregnant mothers should NOT work in hard labor jobs obviously.

            You’re just greedy, that’s all.

          • RegularListener

            Just whose greed and power lust is causing the wilful destruction of human beings through the exposure of pregnant women to stress? Surely you’re not suggesting that feminism is the real culprit here. Long before feminism, the money-makers & exploiters throughout the centuries have been quite willing to expose poor pregnant women to all sorts of stress in order to make money off their labor or bodies, or to ensure that husbands & fathers, even violently abusive and irresponsible ones, maintain legal authority over them.

            Businesses & most American taxpayers are quite happy to force low-income women, including pregnant ones who apply to TANF to work as much as possible, at any job they can get. I don’t remember any public handwringing about the stress that their fetuses would expericene by requiring them to work as long and as much as possible. You say in reply to “Beth” below, that pregnant women should not do hard labor: but the reality is that sometimes they do, as farm laborers for example, because they aren’t paid enough during other times to allow them to take a “maternity break.” I don’t hear much about the “greed” of businesses for subjecting pregnant laborers to such work conditions. Instead it’s the possibly overpaid pregant female exec who can buy top notch child care, whose “greed” is the big problem?

      • RegularListener

        For many pregnant women, working long hours for good pay is far less stressful than being unemployed, or employed at a job that pays very little, and/or needing to depend on an abusive man for support.
        And for many women, the money is certainly “worth it” because without it they would not be able to survive, or provide for an already born child. Or they would have to depend on an abusive partner. Or apply for welfare. 
        I find the generalizations being made by many on this topic about work and motherhood to be incredibly class-biased.  The reality is that many many American women have very little choice about working unless they want to live in dire poverty, give up their children to adoption (usually far far more painful than raising them yourself, even if it is in poverty), being dependent on an abusive partner, etc.
        And please spare me the crocodile tears about the “poor” fetus being exposed to working executive mother’s stress hormones. Where is the concern about the stress low-income pregnant women undergo because they have to work terrible jobs? Our welfare system TANF, forces low-income mothers, including pregnant ones, to work as much as they possibly can, at any job they can get, even if it is not compatible with family schedules. I don’t remember the public handwringing about all the stress hormones this would expose their unborn children to.

        • utera

          Well in this case she doesn’t have stress on any real level.  she fails it isn’t a big deal in any practical way, she will still be rich.

  • Dbmapit

    The industry that she finds herself in does not require that you be physically present to do your job, only mentally present, it is high tech after all. Anyone you knows anything about how strong and truly powerful  woman are should know that with the right support she will truly shine. 
    Yahoo on the other hand needs to re-invent itself. There is a new opportunity to further converge information( entertainment, business,personal) to make information more useful and available anywhere( mobile platforms) than ever before. I for one want to know what she is going to do for Yahoo?

  • Bhavana

    I would like to add that this discussion also needs to talk about the role of the father. The burden on women reduces greatly with a  greatly involved father and hence companies should make it easier for parents as a whole to have flexible timings as opposed only focusing on women and singling them out.

  • Guest

    Who doesn’t like cupcakes?

  • Aaron

    My wife and I make it work.  She is an attorney who has billed over 200 hours so far this month since she is so busy.  I am a full time architect.  And we have one kid.  I pick our kid up and drop her off at daycare everyday.  I also have to take time off of work if our kid gets sick.  

    The reason this works is simply because I’m awesome.  

  • Scott McGrew

    Cannot believe you let guest get away with “We are talking about elite women, not single mothers or people who didn’t graduate college.”  Go back and check the tape.  Awful.

  • I’m an engineer in silicon valley, and a pregnant mother of 2. After my second child, I realized the perfect work-life balance for me was working hard at something interesting and important for 20-30 hrs/wk, and working hard at my other interesting and important job of raising kids for the rest. 
    My experience was that it’s hard to find part-time work as an employee in the Valley, impossible to find *interesting* part-time work, but that there are great options if one quits the mainstream employee track and become a freelancer.

    I’ve had no lack of interested clients, I’m able to set my own hours, earn more per hour, and I’ve had to forge my own entrepreneur/freelancer path to do so. I’ve learned that many other mothers surprise themselves by doing the same.

    – andrea, freelance engineer and founder of parentsguild.com

  • Slb220

    I am the mother of two young women in demanding professions. Their problem as they see it is that they feel that they gained greatly from having a full time Mom and they want this for their children. They are both struggling to decide what kind of families they will be able to create.

  • Bob Fry

    What about discussing the co-workers who have to pick up the slack for absent peers? This is true regardless of reason for the absence but occurs more often for women with children. I’m for equal work for equal pay…where I work (engineer with the State of California) moms are cut all kinds of slack while fathers get little. And men and women without children? Hah.

  • Rachel

    I live in Silicon Valley and the problem here isn’t any single woman’s choice, it is the culture that we live in where achievement is more important than balance and where work is more important than family.  This valley is ridden with mental health issues and unhappiness while it is flush with money.  The problem with this debate is that we continue to talk about “good business” and whether or not people will be able to work ungodly hours, rather than discussing what makes a good human life.

  • Eric

    Many of us who work on complex software development projects under tight deadlines find an inherent tension between the goal of “having it all” and also having a dynamic career in a field where skills become obsolete every 18 months. Yes, it certainly helps when employers provide generous sick leave benefits, child care on site, etc. but even when those things are present it is often very difficult to juggle work and family.  You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want. 

  • Fred

    I’m the dad of 2 young kids who is married to a Silcon Valley Tech Wife.  Unfortunately there is only 24 hours in the day and a high powered job in valley demands all of it.  I have sacrificed my career to enable my wife to further hers and our family functions without a mother now.  Marissa will be torn between two demanding jobs.  While I wish her success, if I was a Yahoo shareholder I would be looking to sell.

  • Jen

    Wow – the comment to Valerie’s comment was really ridiculous.  Telling a mom that chooses to stay home with their kids that they are putting their kids in financial peril was very judgmental in the opposite direction – it takes ALL women who can work, stay at home, nurture, provide (as it takes ALL men) to raise the next generation.  If ALL women worked or ALL women stayed at home our society would be completely unbalanced.  Positing staying at home and not working as putting their family in financial peril because of a may or may not happen divorce (what is the divorce rate?  50%?  so its not a real arguement) is not forwarding this discussion in any way.

  • Sarahannhogan

    Two points:

    Many things can contribute to leave of absence from the work place. Perhaps care for a terminal parent or family member, accident or injury. Does pregnancy need to be the only concern for such an absence?

    Also as a 15 year professional nanny, I have witnessed the work life balance to be difficult for father’s as much as mother’s. Are employers concerned about men becoming father’s when hiring?

  • Vanessa

    I’m a 31-yr old female engineer working at a Silicon Valley startup. I’m married with no children, and that’s the only way I could work this job. I can’t leave at 5:30 every day or even take a 2 week vacation guilt free. The Facebook and now this Yahoo situation have been brought up often as examples of how Silicon Valley is changing it’s model to be family friendly, but I feel exactly the opposite. Silicon Valley will be family friendly when these things aren’t even news. 

  • Michelle

    While I appreciate the conversation on balancing work and home life, I feel that the children are often what is missing from the conversation.  While I don’t think women should necessarily stay at home with young children, I agree in part with the previous comment that one parent should stay home with them.  I feel that one of the major problems with our educational system is that too many young kids are being raised by exhausted grandparents, unattached nannies and daycare centers.  There is no question in my mind that a 2 person class size (at home with mom or dad or an involved grandparent) during those early formative years is better than an 8-1 child ratio which is what you will find in a daycare or “preschool” center.  The cost of living in the bay area is so high that this is unfortunately the reality that many women face, with a stiff upper lip.

  • Kristen_mccarthy

    First of all, congratulations to Marisa Mayer.  Her pregnancy decisions are personal and I hope they work out for her.  It seems that women in executive positions have this choice as they can afford to outsource child care which does not appear to be the case for lower level women professionals.  Nevertheless, there never seems to be life work balance and I assume it will be a very exhausting challenge that she is taking on.   As a former portfolio manager I worked with three other women and a large number of men.  Two of us eventually left the work force to raise our children.  Two of us who rose to Chief Investment Officer positions were able to do this as their husbands became stay at home dads.  

    • mary

      Well said. That seems to be the normal way it plays out.

  • Becoming a parent, made me a better, more focused, more efficient worker. Silicon Valley likes long hours, but if you look more closely, it also likes long lunches, foosball, beer bashes, and strolling in at 10. 

    Leaving at 5:30, lunching at one’s desk and working at home are just different ways of aggregating productive work.

  • mary

    As a highly educated ambitious married working mother of 2 in silicon valley, this debate hits close to home. I think the missing question in this debate is: who is raising the child? Dad, grandma, Stanford educated nanny, or a low quality day care center? The more the woman earns, the greater her choices, but as a working mom I must acknowledge that if I am gone from my young child 60 hours per week, than other adults are doing more of the raising than I am. If they love that child and are balanced, wonderful people that may be fine. If not, this is to my child’s detriment.

  • Wu Jiang

    I admire Marissa’s courage and the confident that she can have a career while being a great mom. I have been single mother working in the Silicon Valley for the past 12 years and when I went for interview, the first thing I told always I am a single mother and have small children. Do you want to continue the interview? All my employers honors their commitments that I need have flexible working time. I have  been working for a greentech startup for the past 6 years and have been the most productive employee for the whole engineering department which I am the only female employee. At the mean time, I was allowed to have flexible working hour that I can volunteer at our children’s school and raising two wonderful children. So Marissa, have the best time of your life being a mom and a great CEO at Yahoo!

  • jp

    When you can afford a staff to take care of your life work family balance is easier to achieve – I have worked directly with people in similar positions and though the hours are brutal there are other perks that money can buy – a nanny that can take care of the kid in an adjacent office or working from home so you can see your kid at all times, night nurses so that you dont have to get up at night.  Melissa Meyer is not the representation of the discussion of work life balance – when you have the resources of course you can work and be a mom.  When your salary doesnt even cover daycare costs thats a whole other discussion.

  • Paravieja

    I don’t hear anything about the kids.  These kids are at school or with childcare about 10 hours a day.  I want my children to be with a family member not strangers.

    • Aaron

       I honor your perspective. Though I feel like it assumes childcare is a cold, impersonal setting. I work in that field and know that good preschools are a tremendous asset to children and parents. And these aren’t just for rick people. There are plenty of kids who spend hours watching TV with a family member. They’re simply not growing in the way that kids in a good early learning setting are. Also, the teachers aren’t strangers. They are often among the child’s favorite people.

  • Guest

    Why can’t we have a scheduled pattern for women that would go something like this- 
    – Early job work hard and trained and invested in by company.-Take time off for children. -On ramp from company to bring women back into the industry.  

    Also the women you have on are pregnant. They are not yet parents and cannot speak about this realistically until they do. They can have lots of ideas but they are not to be trusted in the real world.

  • Aaron

    One assumption seems to be that women are highly drawn to “Mothering” and men aren’t especially interesting in active family involvement. My wife and I both work. She has a very demanding Silicon Valley job and has always wanted the path she’s on.

    I have a professional job, but in the nonprofit sector. Long before becoming a dad I aimed my career in a family-friendly direction. I’ve always seen myself as the cornerstone/caretaker of the family. My wife frankly isn’t geared toward regular caregiving. I think this blanket assumption that women always want to have it all while men don’t give a flip is reductive and lazy.

  • Mark J Dieter

    A comment was made along the lines of “h can work from home”, as if that means a person could take care of the kids also. Just because someone works from home does not man they can also give kids attention. Giving toddlers attention and managing a household is pretty close to a full time job.

  • Tara

    Women can have balance in the workplace with the support of their companies and the other parent. My very small company was able to provide me with 12 weeks off and the allowed me to bring my infant son to work so I could continue nursing for as long as I felt it was necessary. I “wore” him in a sling for near,y 3 months around the office, at meetings, etc. As he got older and it became more difficult to balance work and the baby and made the decision for him to start daycare. I was very productive and it worked well for all involved. I think this type of flexibility for both women and men in the workplace will improve the work-life balance for all. I congratulate Mayer on her new role and her pregnancy!

  • Sarah

    Why does society believe that they have the right or responsibility to pass judgement on mothers from the moment of conception? It is somewhat baffling to me. What is right for one mother is not right for the next. I hope that Marrisa Mayer enjoys her life and get choices and takes the time to make the decisions that feel right to her after her baby is born.

    • Nietzsche

       You are so RIGHT. Who are we to judge Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, whose cocaine habit during pregnancy is considered a major cause of Jeffrey’s becoming a cannibal? That woman is a SAINT.

      (sarcasm)

  • Chemist150

    I think over time there will be more stay at home dads.  With all the layoffs in the past years, it seems that some companies favored laying off men over women possibly for fear of their pregnancy status or related issues.

    Ironic that women are getting what they asked for… First they took the mens jobs in Women’s Suffrage, devaluing the man by essentially doubling the work force.  Now, they have to have the baby and support the family as our economy contracts trending toward a single worker household.

    • RegularListener

      This is a very one-sided look at why so many women want to work outside the home.   Many women work because do not want to be dependent on an abusive man– domestic violence against women and their children was & is extremely common –or an unreliable man who spends most of the money on himself (drinking, whatever) rather than the kids. Such women & sometimes even their kids are, better off without the father, and they need to earn a living to survive &/or provide for their kids. And many women who have good partner (not abusive, irresponsible) have to work because neither they nor their partners earn enough to survive. The problem that so many Americans today are paid so poorly for their labor that they need a partner’s income as well as their own should not be solved by forcing all women to stay at home, even those married to abusers.

  • Rufus

    About the shareholders, if Yahoo is incorporated in Delaware, shareholders effectively have no rights. They can complain all they like but the executives don’t have to change what they do.

  • Tailor Made

    She is worth HUNDREDS of millions od dollars…it is absurd to even discuss her “sacrifice” and “challenges” in any context with any other employee.

    • Fred

       Money seems to impress shallow people.

    • utera

      Bingo, she doesn’t have to work at this point, its all for glory now.

  • Fred

    The USA is a narcissistic society. Marissa is being touted as a super-capable executive who can do anything, and lowly shareholders should be grateful to bask in her glory.

    What nonsense! Think of the child.

  • KR

    Like many women I am a former executive, now full time mom.  Like them, I lost a sense of identity, one that I cherished. The role of mom has sadly much less status than executive in our culture.  It’s perceived as inferior. I think many woman return, not for the economic gain, but for the return of status and equally important contact with other adults.  

  • Ms Andrea Segovia

    Why is no one addressing the heart of the matter?  
    This is discrimination pure and simple. Women are roughly 50% of the workplace.  The paradigm has already shifted by necessity and will continue along this vein in the future.  What kind of message are we sending to girls?  That they shouldn’t aspire to the top because they want families? Women make less than men for the same work, whether they have children or not.  We should hire the best person for the job REGARDLESS of whether they have a family and pay them accordingly.

  • guest

    It is naive to cite discrimination laws and encourage employees to sue their employer.

    • guest

      Without also citing the statistics of actually prevailing in either the administrative or legal system. 

      As well, potentially harmful to employees unaware of the statistics.

  • Jeff

    “What about the shareholder”?!
    Oh! The poor abused shareholder.
    Yahoo decided to hire a pregnant woman.
    The shareholder can decide to invest his money elsewhere.
    Don’t shareholders do that as a matter of course?

  • Jess In Berkeley

    Two weeks?  I had two uncomplicated, natural births and the thought of physically going back to work after two weeks makes me shudder.  I find it completely inhumane even in terms of recovery time for the mother–this is not something anyone should have to do.  I feel like only a woman who has never had a child could possibly think two weeks is an appropriate physical (let alone emotional) recovery time for birth.  I also assume she has no plans to breast feed; no judgement on that, just a statement that 2 weeks leave and 90 hour weeks is fundamentally incompatible with breastfeeding.

  • Minna

    actaully having been a kid with working mother who later didn’t stopped working when i was in my teens. i liked it much better when my mother was working. she was much happier. more fulfilled and had fun social lives and friends. i didn’t feel i was lacking in nurturing b/c my mother was with me 24/7. i enjoyed going to my sitters house and meeting other kids who were also there. it taught me social skills and adaptation.

    i think it’s silly to think kids will turn out less well just b/c mother works. even when she worked i didn’t feel she cared for me less in anyway.

    i can undertand right after birth the monther and child needs bonding time at least a few months.

    part of the reason is also there are alot of divorces in this country and there are not as much help from the grandparents and immediate families. women must be able to afford babysitter or quit work. economic is often key in women’s decision to stay home as well.

  • guest

    Without also citing the statistics of actually prevailing in either the administrative or legal system.

  • Brian C

    What Marissa Mayer doesn’t know:

    “Stress during Pregnancy ‘lowers a child’s IQ’
    http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/surgeryandcancer/divisionofcancer/reproductivebiology/fetalmaternal/vglover/stresspregnancy/ 

    and:  Scientists studying the developmental roots of
    mental illness have zeroed in on a likely suspect: the body’s stress response.

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/02/mental-illness.aspx 

    • RegularListener

      Sounds reasonable to me that stress during pregnancy is bad for the unborn child, but where do people get the idea that being employed in a long-hours, high power job is more stressful than being unemployed or employed in a very poorly paid job? My own experience was that unemployment & poorly paid employment was far, far more stressful than working long hours but being well-paid for it, because worrying about basic survival is far more traumatic than a hectic lifestyle.

      If  Americans were so concerned about stress on pregnant women & their unborn fetuses,it would subsidize women, of any income level, to take off time from work during their pregnancy.  But of course we don’t do this because business exploitation of low-wage earners, including pregnant women, is perfectly acceptable to most Americans. The current welfare system forces low-income women to work as much as possible, regardless of pregnancy or birth. What this furor about the female upper crust supposedly stressing their fetuses & babies by working at the same time that welfare policy requires low-income pregnant women & mothers to work as much as possible,  shows that concern about the “poor” children of female execs is completely bogus.

  • Laura

    The BEST thing a mother can do for her children is SHOW THEM that women are capable of being good mothers WHILE having successful careers. My mom prepared me to do both by leading by example, and I am grateful she did. A woman is more than just a uterus!

  • caretaker

    Bravo for Marissa Mayer! What the show didn’t discuss is how limiting our thinking is when it comes to childcare. There are many resources now especially with highly educated Caretakers and Post-partum Doulas. We have Women who support other Women in society so that those like Mayer can continue to work in high profile jobs and still enjoy family life. As long as Women can manage their resources and create interdependent relationships with Caretakers of their children, Women in high profile jobs will succeed both in the work place and at home. It is misleading though to say “Have it All” because there are sacrifices for Women like Mayer. One of the biggest ones being spending time with their children. Unfortunately, you have to give up something in order to accomplish something else. I believe Mayer knows this very clearly. She’s a smart Women and is leading the way for other Women like herself. However, I worry about those who are in regular jobs having to balance work and life. These Women are the ones who really do need support. Economically, there needs to be more financial support for Women in the middle and lower rung of society. We have yet to fully support these Women in the US. We need to create social childcare that is affordable for these Women who need it so that they can go back to work and have the secure feeling that their children are well taken care of without having to be burdened financially.

    • Sara

      We cannot undermine the role of the father. Women cannot have a balanced family life and career without equal effort from the spouse! It is also unfair to assume that fathers want to or can only play a limited role in a child care and nurturing. Check out Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine.

      • RegularListener

        “Women cannot have a balanced family life and career without equal effort from the spouse!”
        The sad fact is that some women will never find a supportive spouse. There is a lot of physical abuse of women & children by their spouses or partners.  These women need to be able to support themselves & their kids without being forced to rely on someone who threatens their life & safety or that of their children.
        ” It is also unfair to assume that fathers want to or can only play a limited role in a child care and nurturing”
        It’s true that many men, especially in high-prestige jobs, are discouraged from taking any time off work for their kids.  But the reality is that some fathers will not be responsible for their kids & the law isn’t always very effective in enforcing responsibility, so single mothers still need opportunities to provide for their kids without their father, if necessary.

  • I am all for women in the workplace and in executive roles. Part of where I have gotten to in my career today was due to the guidance and mentoring of an executive I reported to who happens to be female.  I loved working for her and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience working as part of her management team.  I have no issue with women in the workplace or in executive positions.

    That being said, Ms. Mayer is not taking a position as CEO at just any company.  Yahoo! is a complete mess. She is not taking over a company that is in good straits.  This has nothing to do with whether or not she is capable of righting the ship. Taking over a company that needs a turnaround can be a very difficult task and requires a tremendous amount of time, focus and personal commitment to make it right.  If anything, I feel sorry for the child.

  • Anna

    This is an important discussion, but Marissa Mayer and her ability to pay for a whole village of support have nothing whatsoever to do with the issues of American women!

  • June

    In one of her comments this morning, Joan Williams referred to a woman’s employer as “he”… she needs to change that – afterall, some employers are “she”.  Especially when talking about women in the work-place! 

  • Jimoblio

    I wish that we could be more explicit about what sort of help people at the top of our socioeconomic ladder have available to them.

    She will be able to hire a full time Nanny to take care of the baby during the day ($30k/year), a night nurse to take care of feeding the baby at night ($1000/week), a housekeeper who provides all cleaning services and laundry. In short the ultra wealthy silicon valley execs who preach “work life balace” do not have to cook, clean up after thier own meals, wash thier clothing, wake up at night to care for thier babies, or have to struggle to respond to an imprtant email during the day because there is no one to care for thier infant.

    Any parent who reads this can appreciate what a pleasure it would be to simply bond and play with a child and work without the domestric pressures trying to “have it all” truly entails.

    • Beth

      And if she breastfeeds? Even average parents hire nannies, babysitters and even cleaning folks at least weekly. And the fact is Ms Mayers loves to cook and cooks often. 

      Oh and its spelled their NOT thier.

      • RegularListener

        “Average” parents hire nannies, and even cleaning folks at least weekly?  Not any “average parents” I know. Even though I’m sympathetic to your general point about gender bias, I think you need to be more sensitive about making very class-biased remarks like this one.

  • I am all for women in the workplace and in executive roles. Part of where I have gotten to in my career today was due to the guidance and mentoring of an executive I reported to who happens to be female.  I loved working for her and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience working as part of her management team.  I have no issue with women in the workplace or in executive positions.

    That being said, Ms. Mayer is not taking a position as CEO at just any company.  Yahoo! is a complete mess. She is not taking over a company that is in good straits.  This has nothing to do with whether or not she is capable of righting the ship. Taking over a company that needs a turnaround can be a very difficult task and requires a tremendous amount of time, focus and personal commitment to make it right.  If anything, I feel sorry for the child.

  • Beth

    May I ask why the bashing of someone who happens to be well educated, and financially secure?  Is it envy?  The woman waited until her thirties to marry and then a few more years to have a child.  I applaud wise thinking women like Ms Mayer. 

    Especially when we have been hearing on NPR for weeks now about unwed mothers struggling raising children alone, while also trying to get an GED and then dreams of college.

    Both my parents worked outside the home when I was growing up and I think it was great. But lets not forget that most mothers work at something either inside or outside the home.

  • Beth

    Did APPLE suffer when Steve Jobs went out on medical leave? Or even when he died?  So why the double standard with Ms Mayer being pregnant? 

  • Ginny

    For 13 years I have taught many teenagers of very successful working women here in Silicon Valley. There seems to be no consistent “result” to these mothers’ working: some of these kids are extraordinarily mature, responsible and well-adjusted – and yes, some are spoiled and a few are even quite disturbed. I see no consistent patterns, so I trust that Ms. Mayer will get extraordinary, nurturing child care for her child. I just wonder about what a parent loses when he/she’s not around to see the first smile, the first words or the first step. I’m a working mother and couldn’t be “there” when my own son had many of his “firsts.” He’s fine – it’s me who’s really sad I had to miss those things.

  • utera

    There is a lack of honesty about this issue, is someone pregnant with child all things being equal with another candidate who isn’t going to be able to perform as well as another candidate? Of course not, you might as well claim you can text and drive at the same time without any issues.  Its just simple logic.

    Furthermore she doesn’t need this job, she is rich, so she will sacrifice her family for what?  Glory?

    Anyways rock star ceo hires really don’t do anything that inspire confidence in a failing company, these are desperate last acts of the dying.

    If women really wanted “wives”, they’d marry them, sorry but that is just the awful truth of the matter.  Its quite easy to talk in theory but when it comes down to it, I doubt many of the women talking would choose such a house husband to raise their children.

    You can’t claim to be equal then demand extra help and accommodation, its just contradictory.  In any case the subtle message being sent by such demands? Don’t hire women.

  • Olga

    Reading the comentary is funny and somewhat disturbing.  The point of having women in the workforce and in high levels is to benifit from their talent and to increase the diversity in our decision makers of big business.  All the other issues must then find their way towards being resolved within our professional culture.  Anything is possible and yes, something has got to give.  We woment and men must stop placing judgement and believe in the value of diversity, period.  Children need love and a home to be happy and well adjusted.  Yes, it is the responsibility of the parents to make sure their children have this!  Go Marissa!  You will be great!

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