Head of technological powerhouse Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, has announced she’s expecting twins, and in the same breath indicated she’ll work through her pregnancy, and take ‘limited’ time off. She took just two weeks leave after having her son in 2012, and her brief maternity hiatuses have kicked off fierce debate across the globe. But is it really any of our business?
Earlier this week Ms Mayer took to Tumblr to reveal she’s pregnant and due in December, explaining her surprise that she is pregnant with twins: “Zack and I have embraced the surprise and are very excited about these new additions to our family”.
She then outlined her plans both pre and post birth:
Ms Mayer was already pregnant with her son when she was hired by Yahoo, and soon after the company initiated an end to employees working from home.
A few months later, Ms Mayer announced increased maternity and paternity leave for Yahoo workers, which includes 16 weeks of paid time off for new mums, and eight weeks for fathers.
In the wake of new, generous maternity and paternity leave packages at Netflix and Virgin, Ms Mayer’s plans to take minimal time off after the birth of her twins has sparked debate. New York’s Families and Work Institute senior vice-president Anne Weisberg told The Guardian that the Yahoo’s CEO’s announcement is “disappointing”.
“She’s a role model and I think she should take whatever Yahoo’s parental leave is – the mark of a great leader is that they have a strong team and don’t need to be there all the time themselves. And she’s having twins – just physically that’s a big deal.”
While MomsRising executive director Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner says there’s a distinct gender imbalance, and Ms Mayer’s plans shouldn’t be up for debate.
“When was the last time a male CEO was asked about how he would handle a new baby and his work? Men aren’t asked if taking a shorter time off will hurt the child. They don’t feel the need to justify themselves and explain their decisions,” she tells The Guardian.
CNN commentator Mel Robbins echoes the sentiment:
“I can’t slam her decision, however it ends up. As far as I’m concerned, the length of your maternity and paternity leave are deeply personal choices. Mayer’s not sending a message, she’s just living her life — in her case one that includes having twins and running a Fortune 500 company. If you want to take a message from her example, there is more than one: You can be dedicated to work and family, and you should do what’s right for you.”