The former Google VP told Fortune's Patricia Sellers that Yahoo! executives knew about her pregnancy last month and "showed their evolved thinking" in hiring her anyway. The 37-year-old, who is married to Data Collective co-managing partner Zachary Bogue, is due in October and told Sellers she plans to take just "a few weeks" of working maternity leave.
According to Kara Swisher at All Things D, a source close to the Yahoo! board said Mayer's pregnancy "was not part of the consideration."
It appears as though Mayer is in a class by herself with this announcement. TechCrunch says Mayer may be "the first ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 tech company" and calls the announcement "trailblazing." While another power woman in tech, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, is also a working mother, her kids are a little older. Nevertheless, Sandberg has been vocal about what it's like to be a working mom in tech. She made news in April when she said "there's no such thing as work-life balance" -- but noted she makes a point of being home for dinner with her family after work.
In June, the New York Times homed in on the difficulties some women face maintaining high-level tech careers and family responsibilities in start-up companies. "Much of the investment world, heavily dominated by men, remains skeptical about a woman’s ability to combine running a fast-growing tech start-up and motherhood," reporter Hannah Seligson said, paraphrasing remarks by Send the Trend CEO Divya Gugnani.
Of course, Mayer's news is different, because Yahoo! is a giant company -- not a start-up. And while some reacted enthusiastically to Mayer's news on Twitter, others seem to see it as an opportunity to continue the fight for better workplace policies for women. Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Atlantic's recent cover story, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," replied to one tweet about the new CEO: "Some women can [have it all], absolutely. & I applaud her! but she makes my point. She's superhuman, rich, & in charge. Still need change!"
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