Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Is Doing Women a Disservice With Her Unrealistic Maternity Leave Plans (VIDEO)

Marissa Mayer I'm a bit in awe of Marissa Mayer. A self-professed geek, she was Google's first engineer and rose to power within the company. Then at just 37 this week she was named CEO of Yahoo, tapped to bring the struggling company back to the days of old. And oh yeah, she's pregnant too.

Just hours after it was announced she was taking over the reins at Yahoo, this little tidbit came out as well. She announced it on Twitter, saying, "Another piece of good news today - @zackbogue and I are expecting a new baby boy." She's reportedly due October 7.

Wow. Good for her and good for Yahoo for not letting her pregnancy affect their decision regarding this key position. So often we see companies that penalize or even fire women because of pregnancy, so this is a great a great step forward for women on many fronts. But not on all fronts.

It was this line in an interview with Fortune that gave me more than a pregnant pause to all the happy thoughts about what an incredible example this was of women actually being able to find some semblance of work/life balance. She said, "My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it."

A few weeks? Maybe she's superwoman, but a few weeks is barely long enough for the epidural to wear off. To think that she's going to be mentally and emotionally ready to go back and lead a company two or three weeks later and leave her baby is ambitious at the least; thinking that's what a woman has to do to keep such a position of power is depressing.

I so wish she and Yahoo would set an example -- that they would give her a full maternity leave, and that she would take it and still keep her position. Even just the minimum -- 6-8 weeks, and show the world that it's okay for women to have babies and then to care for them and themselves for more than just a few days. That they and their skills are important enough to the company that they'll figure out something in a woman's absence and welcome her and her expertise back with open arms.

I think too often women who do want to return to work are scared to take a full maternity leave, and end up working during the short one they take. I admit I was one of them after my daughter was born. It's often not healthy for the mom or the baby, and it's too bad it has to be like that because that's a time you can never get back.

Maybe once that baby is in her arms, Mayer will change her mind. Maybe she'll realize she needs more time to heal, bond, and just be with her new baby than she thought. If so, I hope Yahoo gives her that graciously without an impact to her role.

Oh, and if she could do something about Flickr in the meantime, that would be great too.

Do you think Marissa Mayer taking such a short maternity leave sends a bad message to women and corporate America? How long was your maternity leave?


Image via jolieodell/Twitter

celeb moms, motherhood


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MsRkg MsRkg

Why does she have to take a longer maternity leave just to appease women around the country. It's her choice. If she's comfortable going back to work after a few weeks then that's her choice. She doesn't have to live her life according to the standards of everyone else. My company offered me 28 weeks maternity leave and I went back after 4-5 weeks, because that's what I wanted to do. I don't care what other women choose to do with their own maternity leave. They can take the maximum amount or the minimum amount , its their choice.

tinyp... tinypossum

Isn't this her first child? Methinks she has very unrealistic expectations of what new motherhood entails. I imagine as CEO, she can take whatever the hell maternity leave she wants. She will probably change her tune when baby arrives.

Flori... Floridamom96

Marissa Mayer's life is none of your business.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Why bother having a kid at all? She's never going to see them. I know women in far lower positions in her industry who are lucky to get home in time to kiss their kids goodnight and some that don't even bother doing that. Some just send their kids off to boarding school as soon as they can because it's cheaper than getting a nanny to take them to school and stay with them till the parents get home.

Virginia Dick

I wish I knew more about the actual plan - is she planning on working from home or having baby with her while she is 'working'.... I ended up working a bit with both of my little ones before I returned to work full time - and even when I did return to work I was lucky enough to work somewhere that I could have my new baby with me at least a good part of the time (I just set up my office with a pack n play) and made it work....

silve... silverdawn99

LOL everyone really thinks that a long maternity leave is neccesary? I went back to work after three weeks and it didnt bother me at all. I was lifting individuals and such and I had a csection. Just because a woman gives birth doesn mean she need a month and a half to get over it

nonmember avatar Savannah

Although I believe all women should be given ample, guilt-free, consequence-free maternity leave to bond with their child and properly recover it would still be a choice whether or not to fully use it. Obviously, Ms Mayer has a career that does not allow her the luxury of taking months off from work. Immpretty sure she knew this when she accepted one of the highest positions in one of the most powerful companies in the world.

She should not be the poster child for maternity leave standards but she should be the poster child for female executives in the workplace who are able to reach chief-level positions while having a family!

Miche... Michelephant

Taking a few months off from a new job, especially such a huge position doesn't seem practical. Her husband has a more flexable career path right now.  So maybe he will stay home most of the time and be the main care giver.  

nonmember avatar Michelle

Yes, she can do whatever the hell she wants. But as the child of a CEO this kid will be raised by nannies anyways. Yes it is sad but it's a reality. Why people have children and don't choose to raise them is beyond me. I, too, am 37 but if I was in this woman's shoes I WOULD choose to set an example and take an ACTUAL maternity leave...NO work except that baby for 12 weeks at LEAST. She probably thinks she can still work 100+ hour weeks while still pregnant. Ha, ha, haaaaaaaa!

nonmember avatar M

RhondaVeggie...this is the one topic you and I seem to agree on: why have kids if you choose not to raise them yourself. Although I do agree with Michelephant's statement of the father's involvement...this is an excellent point. Stay at home dads are amazing people too!!!

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