Pregnant at Work – In the 21st Century

By Cynthia Good

Do I have any trepidation that Marissa Mayer, brand-new CEO of Yahoo! is not up to the job because she is six months pregnant? Frankly, I find the question ridiculous! This woman is a professional. If anything, she’ll make an extra effort because she knows everyone is watching.

Just like I did. I carried the tripod and covered the evening news past my due date, while I was pregnant with my first child. I wrote about being one of the first pregnant on-air reporters, at an Atlanta TV station. Today, my son Alden is 18, and soon heads off to college.

This is a different time, yet the firestorm surrounding Mayer’s two new jobs (CEO and soon to be mom) hasn’t let up. Everyone has an opinion; new moms should stay home, executives shouldn’t be distracted by childbearing, women can’t and perhaps shouldn’t have it all.

I have no doubt that Mayer, the first pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 tech company, knows what she’s doing. In fact, while at her former job at Google, she had already thought through the balance issue. In her interview with Little PINK Book, she said: “Different people have their own ideas of what balance is. To some, it’s three meals a day and eight hours of sleep. I don’t really believe in balance.”

The pressure on her is huge. Taking the reins at a company that’s had five CEOs in five years, won’t be easy. And women all around the world are waiting for her to answer the question – can it be done?

But the fact is if companies hope to nurture and keep the most talented, smartest women, they’ll need to focus on results, rather than 9 to 5. Life happens. We applaud organizations that give capable women such latitude. We’re all better for it – and so is the bottom line. As companies like Yahoo! realize this, we hope to see more accommodation for women who want to start families, while rising up the ranks.

With flexibility and resources enjoyed by those in the C-Suite, and support at home, we at Little PINK Book are betting on Mayer.

We’re also looking forward to the day when naysayers stop imposing “shoulds” on women’s decisions. We always say you have the right to choose what’s best for your career and your family, at any given time.

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