We all know Marissa Mayer as the CEO of the dwindling empire of Yahoo. The major challenge in her professional life is now to keep the Yahoo boat sailing, even as the Company is in the midst of falling popularity. But apart from all this, the 40 year old youngest woman CEO of a fortune 500 company is now getting the heat for a very different reason. Mayer gave birth to twins, Marielle and Sylvana last year, after which she took a post natal maternity leave for 2 weeks only! And what’s more, she used to carry her twins to work. At any point, the powerhouse leader did not let the society imposed gender roles interfere with her work life. She did the same in 2012, when her first child was born.
But much like our society, the male dominated, patriarchal social media space responded in a predictable way. People claimed that she ‘wasn’t setting the right tone’. Being a leader, she was apparently expected to perpetuate old notions of parenting style, rather than reinventing it for herself. People thought that other women working in the company would feel this implicit expectation to do the same.
Not that the company doesn’t offer its employees maternity leave, in fact Yahoo is perhaps one of the very rare workplaces where maternity, paternity, surrogacy and abortion are all treated equally! As in every employee gets equal leave, as per claims made in a tweet by Mayer.
Although Mayer doesn’t admit it, we all know that she has been facing a lot of flak for the failing prestige of Yahoo. Workaholic or not, had she stayed back at home for a little longer to take care of her new born children, the trajectory of the entire conversation would have been something different. In my imagination, which is driven by observations of the real world, the same decision would put the direct burden of the company’s failure on her motherhood, and her ability as a leader would have surely been put to question. Quite a case of catch 22 this!
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