Is Marisa Mayer proving that women CAN have it all? By never voicing doubts about juggling work and motherhood, Yahoo CEO"s silence speaks…

Is Marisa Mayer proving that women CAN have it all

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 8 October 2012

Marissa Mayer's decision to take just a 'few weeks'' maternity leave, and to work throughout has divided opinion among feminists, mothers and working women.

However, the new mother's silence on the subject is disproving the commonly-held belief that women cannot have it all, an article has suggested today.

The new mother, 37, has never voiced doubt that she cannot successfully manage a baby and a billion dollar company – and is slowly disproving skeptics everywhere.

Social symbol: Since she gave birth to her first child last Sunday, what Marissa Mayer's new motherhood means has been used as a symbol of the eternal societal issue, can women have it all

Social symbol: What Marissa Mayer's new motherhood means has been used as a symbol of the eternal societal issue, can women have it all

'Marissa is focusing her energy internally,' said a Yahoo spokesperson in an e-mail to New York Magazine.

The self described geek, who is married to San Francisco
investor Zachary Bogue, has never expressed doubt she that she can't have it all.

Instead of pandering to society's belief that her new-found working motherhood is setting unrealistic standards for women, she told Fortune magazine she is simply 'staying in the rhythm of things.'

Leveling the playing field, Ms Mayer views herself as an equal to everyone – male, female, married, single, with children or without.

'So far, she's not showing any interest in the conversation,' wrote Lisa Miller for New York Magazine.

Just like her employees, she simply believes she has 'the freedom to leave work for the things that matter most, whether it’s dinner with friends or marathon training or being on time for the soccer game.'

Working mom: As the new CEO of Yahoo, the 37-year-old has single handily revived the debate surrounding working mothers

Working mom: As the new CEO of Yahoo, the 37-year-old has single handily revived the debate surrounding working mothers

Her freedom to choose to work as a new mother is seen as immense progress to some; however others, conditioned by social norms, only find working so soon after giving birth palatable if there is a financial imperative.

'She will outwork you, she will outwork anybody'

As a tech executive that receives a base
salary of $1million a year – an amount which excludes her million
dollar performance bonuses, stock grants, and 'make whole' compensation –
Ms Mayer is not a logical comparison for most working parents.

But with her top job, and new role as a mother, 'she appears to exist as a living, breathing, rebuttal to the Atlantic's recent “Why Women Still Can't Have It All” cover story,' wrote Ms Miller.

Brian Singerman, a former Google employee who is now a partner at Founders Fund, a venture-capital firm, said: 'Marissa is very, very, very driven.'

'She will outwork you; she will outwork anybody,' added her friend Dylan Casey, who left Google last year.

Happy couple: Ms Mayer is married to San Francisco investor Zachary Bogue, and has never expressed doubt she that she can't have it all

Happy couple: Ms Mayer is married to San Francisco investor Zachary Bogue, and has never expressed doubt she that she can't have it all

Clearly, Ms Mayer has built an image of
herself
as passionate and hard working – someone who strives for excellence
regardless of her role. But her ability to choose the role 'working
mother,' and deciding to strive to 'have it all,' still divides opinion.

Kristina Schrder, Germany’s family minister, and a member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet, felt compelled to weigh in, viewing Ms Mayer's choice as setting unrealistic expectations for new mothers.

She said: 'I respect this personal step being taken by Ms Mayer. But I regard it with major concern when prominent women give the public impression that maternity leave is something that is not important.

'Maternity leave is absolutely important and not just from a medical point of view'.

However a study, by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found no evidence that maternal employment impacts the quality of parenting during the first four and a half years of a child’s life.

Working mother Who cares: Rather than taking on the role as a 'cultural signifier,' Ms Mayer is instead leveling the playing field, seeing herself as an equal to everyone - male, female, married, single, with children or without

Working mother Who cares: Ms Mayer is leveling the playing field, seeing herself as an equal to everyone – male, female, married, single, with children or without

Positive role model: A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found no evidence that maternal employment impacts the quality of parenting during the first four and a half years of a childs life

Role model: The National Bureau of Economic Research found no evidence that maternal employment impacts the quality of parenting

If Ms Mayer was to take a significant leave of maternity, it 'would lead others in the
business community to yet again question whether women are suited to the
CEO job,' explained Dr. Souha Ezzedeen, associate professor at the
School of Human Resource Management at York University.

'And whether they can actually handle both the executive job and
parenting,' he added.

The argument that Ms Mayer’s decision could undermine the feminist movement by setting an unattainable precedent could easily be reversed, instead seen as a choice that illustrates the fact that women, and even pregnant ones, don’t have to lose ambition the moment they deliver.

Ms Mayer's choice to 'have it all' could actually inspire more companies to contemplate the idea of interviewing pregnant women for executive roles.

That the Yahoo board hired Ms Mayer while she was heavily pregnant, just 12 weeks ago, may be actually be evidence, as Ms Miller stated, 'that fertility, intellect, and big ambition can sometimes co-exist'.

Craig Silvertein, Google's first employee and Ms Mayer's former colleague, added: 'I don't think she's going to be an absent mom. Family is really important to her.'