I wasn't going to write about Marissa Mayer's appointment to be CEO of Yahoo, figuring many of my fellow bloggers (ones I read, even!) would discuss it.
But as an also-7-months-pregnant woman in the tech industry, I can't let it go. I don't think it's Mayer's responsibility to *do* anything differently than she plans to do - she needs to live her life the way she wants to, and clearly she is ambitious, successful, and kickass. Go her.
What I do take issue with is so many women, and women's affinity groups hailing this as a great leap forward for us. Yes, it's awesome that another large, well known company has a female CEO. I get it. Even better that her pregnancy didn't prevent them from choosing her. (Talk to me sometime about job searching when one is pregnant - super fun.)
But, her statement about working through her few weeks of maternity leave is what gets me. I don't know what Yahoo's mat leave policy is, but I suspect it's at least 12 weeks, and possibly more. If the CEO isn't planning to take the leave, what does that say about the rank-and-file who think they need it? Especially those who feel more "replaceable"? Should we all hurry back to work?
I'm sure I'm not the only one whose male and/or child-free coworkers have made comments envious of my "5 months of vacation" coming up. (Clearly these people have not spent 24/7 with a hungry newborn.)
Yes, I get 20 weeks, and yes, that's extremely generous for an American company. But honestly it's still not enough.
At 20 weeks last time, T was still waking 1-2x per night to eat. She was getting all her nutrition from me, which meant I had to pump a couple of extra times per day for those 5 months, in addition to feeding her directly, in order to have any chance of enough of a milk stash when I went back to work because I knew I couldn't pump enough in a work day to feed her while I was gone.
In my ideal world, I would have been on leave through 9 months or so, when T started eating significant amounts of "real food" and started sleeping better. Sure there are people rolling their eyes at this, and sure it's *possible* to go back to work as soon as your medical issues are sorted out. But I think we as a country need to do better than that.
I'm not recommending that Mayer do anything differently. But I do think we need to be careful who we're holding up as our shining examples, because they might end up shooting us in the foot.