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Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO on maternity policies

Is Marissa Mayer setting a bad example with two-week maternity leave?

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Despite extending Yahoo’s maternity leave to four months within a year of becoming CEO, Marissa Mayer is not keen to avail the benefit just yet.

In a post on Tumblr last week, Mayer shared she is expecting identical twin girls with husband Zack Bogue, likely in December – and that she is planning to take just about two weeks of maternity leave, while working throughout.

Mayer credited a “healthy and uncomplicated” pregnancy, while adding that “this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation”, as the reasons for her decision behind taking limited maternity leave.

She wrote: “Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.”

“I’ve shared the news and my plans with Yahoo’s Board of Directors and my executive team, and they are incredibly supportive and happy for me.”

Her previous pregnancy, which she announced the day she took over the CEO post, saw her working remotely throughout the two weeks of maternity leave she availed.

The announcement sparked off varied conversations around the precedent it may set for policies in other tech firms, women in leadership roles, and the parental leave situation in the United States (previously ranked among the worst places for maternal benefits).

ALSO READ: Tech giants woo new mothers through enhanced maternity leave policies

This thread on Quora saw both sides of the debate, with user Gayle Laakmann McDowell, saying Mayer “sets a wonderful example” in showing that all women have different needs, depending on factors like the kind of help they get at home, and how much of the child-rearing responsibility is taken up by the partner.

She wrote: “By Marissa Mayer taking limited leave, she helps clear the way for people like me who choose to make a similar choice. She makes my clients question their assumption that of course I’ll take months off.

“That’s a great thing because, you know, we’re all different. And that’s okay.”

User Rikard Rodin wrote: “America is the worst when it comes to paternity and maternity leave. It’s also the worst when it comes to vacation days in general. And Marissa’s decision will certainly not help it.”

“In my opinion, this is not something she should have shared. As soon as she did, it became an example.”

Scott Galloway of NYU Stern School of Business was among the harshest critics of the Yahoo CEO’s business decisions, saying “Marissa Mayer is the most overpaid CEO in history right now,” in an interview with Bloomberg.

Talking about recent acquisitions and senior level hires, Galloway added that, in his view, Mayer would have been fired if she hadn’t announced that she was pregnant with twins.

Be it her personal or professional life, Mayer definitely is making news. However, we would be interested to know your take on parental leave policies in Asia, are companies doing well or do they need to need up their socks?

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