My first reaction to this news was ‘Good for her….and good for Women!’ I find it exciting that a 37 year young woman can be in such an important position at a prominent company like Yahoo. Then, she announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Congrats to her and another ‘yay’ for women, Right? Marissa says she plans to take only a few weeks of maternity leave and will work throughout. This is the part where I start to squirm in my chair a bit. Why did the exciting announcement of her pregnancy have to be followed up with the statement that she plans to have a short maternity leave? Can’t we just hear the news, and congratulate the family without immediately expecting her to explain how she is going to be ‘mom’ and ‘CEO’?
I wonder if she is taking a short leave because she wants to, or because she feels like she has to. If it is the first option, then, ok. I don’t understand her choice, but I support her decision. If it is because she feels like she has to, then I hate that our society makes women feel like they have to cut the family part of their lives short so that business can take place. I have to agree with Anne-Marie Slaughter whose recent article ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’, discusses the changes that need to take place in our society if ‘equal opportunity’ for women is really going to happen. I don’t think we are there yet.
While I have chosen to stay at home with my son (and any children that may follow), I know that staying home is not a good choice (or even a possible one) for every mother. I hope, however that the reason women make the choice to work full time, or part time, or work from home, or take short maternity leaves etc., is because they WANT to not because they feel like the HAVE to.