While there have been no shortage of letters spilled and minutes wasted over Marissa Mayer's decision to halt work-from-home arrangements, reporters and citizen journalists alike should be more concerned with the future state of Yahoo! and less with the internal workings of company policies. Critics seem to enjoy analyzing her decisions and elevating them to a level of social consciousness as if she were priming a run for office. We need to remember -- Ms. Mayer's role is not to be satisfied with the status quo, but to shake things up and revive an iconic company that stood on the brink of irrelevance. These are the tough decisions. If Marissa were Matt Mayer, would the response have been different?
2012 has been an exceptional year for women in business. The Fortune 500 list hit a record with 20 female CEOs, up from 12 in just 2011, with countless start-ups and maturing businesses finally showcasing women at the helm. Rightfully, we're now shining a UV-spotlight on an increasing change in the tide, the evolving realization that women can make the tough decisions. And with that, are often forced to make the severe ones -- insert gender bias here. For decades, businesswomen have navigated the very fine line between career-focused ambition and the family-first mantra while often being criticized for stepping too close to the former.
As a Manhattan-based Tech CEO and mother of three, I've experienced first-hand the difficulties and complexities of the executive workforce and the stigma that comes with being a self-assured, successful female leader. We've started the migration away from stereotypical gender roles, see the Fortune list, but have we gotten close to forming a true society of equals? Think about it. And for the critics out there, I don't think Marissa's decision has set the female-movement back 50 years.
Ms. Mayer adjusted her company policies to reflect what would be best for Yahoo!. These policies dictate company culture, built on a framework of incentives and privileges to help strengthen business and encourage best-in-class results from employees.
I applaud Marissa for making the tough decisions, and for inspiring her company to come together and take back the reigns of what was one of the most innovative companies only a few years ago.
She is making the decisions that any truly effective leader would, knowing her responsibility to her board and shareholders, as well as an ethical responsibility to the human capital that makes up the Yahoo workforce. It's all much less about killing the policy of working from home than it is Ms. Mayer's genuine leadership in making a tough decision on such a charged issue. She's showing how true (genderless) leadership works, and we should applaud it.