Yahoo new CEO Marissa Mayer is Pregnant
Ms. Mayer’s pregnancy appears to be a first among new chief executives, and possibly (according to TechCrunch) a first among C.E.O.’s of publicly traded Fortune 500 companies. Coverage of her pregnancy is rampant, as, of course, is interest, spurred partly by all those firsts — including the fact that this will be Ms. Mayer’s first baby.
As an honest woman, I have to predict that the balancing of a new baby and such a high-profile job may be more challenging than Ms. Mayer’s blithe dismissal of the question suggests. (“I like to stay in the rhythm of things,” she told Fortune magazine. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”) But that’s no reason Ms. Mayer can’t make it work — and kudos to her and to Yahoo for taking it on.
But would you have? One question raised as the media and the business world discuss Ms. Mayer’s pregnancy is whether a man would face the same scrutiny for taking a high-profile job during his wife’s first pregnancy. The answer? Of course not, although it would surely come up for discussion — witness even the observers who wondered if a father as involved as Barack Obama would, could or should run for the presidency while his children were young. We’re more aware of the demands of family on all parents now, and more aware that there’s more to making it work than a determination to succeed at all costs. One aspect of Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s recent “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” article in The Atlantic Monthly was her own perceived need to leave a high profile government position to be more present for her teenage sons.
Women, and men, do step aside from career opportunities to give more to their families — but they also make choices, like Ms. Mayer, who is 37, to work instead to juggle not one, but two opportunities they feel they just can’t miss. Would you turn down a big career move because of a pregnancy or another major family change? I wouldn’t, or at least, I haven’t: I took on a new regular writing assignment just weeks before we adopted our daughter, which was both a foolhardy decision and among the best choices, career-wise, that I have ever made. But the nature of my career is far more flexible than most, and I know it.
Still, I don’t doubt that in Ms. Mayer’s shoes, I’d have made the same choice (and been just as blithe as any first-time parent about my ability to swing it). Would you? -Nytimes