See? I told you to wish Marissa Mayer good luck in her new position as CEO of Yahoo! She’s one of the smartest women in America, so she certainly knew there’d be a media storm around the two-step announcement. News 1: I have the job. News 2: I’m pregnant.
She’s Mensa-worthy, but perhaps even she underestimated the scope of what she’s done. Is there a strand of womanhood the Marissa Mayer story hasn’t touched? Forget “mommy wars”– this is all about women, period.
Women in business. Women in tech. Women who want to be at the top. Women already at the top. Pregnant women on the job. White collar women vs. blue collar women. Women who have taken maternity leave. Women who want to take maternity leave someday. Experienced moms vs. first-timers. Stay-at-home moms vs working moms. Rich moms. Low-income moms. Women who hope to be a working mom. Women who know they never will.
Apparently, this estrogen-fueled fire is always on simmer, always ready to boil across the Net.
- Straight news (Huffington Post: “Marissa Mayer Pregnant: New Yahoo! CEO Expecting a Baby Boy”)
- Pro-BusinessWoman (Washington Post: “Woo-Hoo For Yahoo! for Making Pregnant Marissa Mayer Its New CEO”)
- Snark (Forbes:“The Pregnant CEO: Should You Hate Marissa Mayer?”)
- Pro Stay-at-Home (MSNBC‘s Morning Joe/Brian Sullivan: “Get your baby. Raise your kid for a little bit. And then, work on the company when you can.”)
In the great big world of Business, studies show that women receive the worst discrimination related to maternity and parental issues. A woman as smart as Ms. Mayer knows that. For sure she knows that when an incoming CEO is male, media rarely care that his wife is expecting a child, IF he mentions it.
Meanwhile, corporately, Yahoo! wins the first level PR prize. By giving Ms.Mayer the top job fully aware of her condition, Yahoo! powered up to the status of Enlightened Employer. That’s an honor that women notice, even if they don’t say so out loud. (Google, Ms. Mayer’s former employer, seems to have escaped quietly out of the spotlight, slipping out the back door to get drunk and plan.)
Long-term winner? Too soon to know, of course, but it’s a fool’s bet to underestimate a woman with a plan. See Katie Holmes.