When I learned that newly-appointed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was pregnant, my first impulse was, "I want to buy some Yahoo stock as a token of support for hiring a pregnant CEO."
And so, for the first time ever, I went online, opened up a new trading account and got going. After years of advocating for more women in leadership, I finally put (some) money where my mouth is.
Many are commenting that Mayer's pregnancy is irrelevant. That the troubled company is lucky to have won Mayer over -- and I agree.
I agree because I think the Board (which is 30% female, by the way, almost double the average of Fortune 1000 companiesof corporate directors are women) found out Mayer was pregnant, shrugged and said, great.
As venture capitalist Fred Wilson said in the comments to his piece on why hiring Mayer signals the rebirth of Yahoo in his mind, "I left out the woman CEO, hiring a pregnant woman, etc, etc. [T]hat's all awesome and enlightened and i am thrilled about it, but at the end of the day, they also hired the person they thought was the best fit for the job. and that's how it should be."
It shouldn't be a big deal. In response to the question, "What can these major companies gain by putting qualified women in their top-tier positions? Rachel Sklar quipped, "The same thing they gain by putting qualified men in their top-tier positions -- any combination of brainpower, experience, networking mojo, people skills, creativity, perspective... and possibly better childcare."
But to me and millions of other women who've been belittled because we are mothers, hiring a pregnant CEO is a big deal. I applaud Yahoo.
By letting many of us slam right into the maternal wall, companies are recruiting, training and then losing their most talented women before they make it to the C-suite. Women hold more than half of the managerial jobs yet are only 17% of senior officers.
And here's where it really burns: Women are responsible for almost 80% of all consumer spending. We control America's pursestrings. Women love social media and use it more than men. Yahoo may best best known for sports and finance, but to win, it needs women.
A study of the profitability of Fortune 500 firms between 1980 and 1998 determined that the 25 firms with the strongest record of promoting women to the executive suite were more profitable than the median firms in their industries.
Yahoo is extremely lucky to get Marissa Mayer, but the fact is, her hire is a true sign times are changing for women and leadership.
As women consumers, we can vote our support for enlightened companies by purchasing their products and investing in them.