Women’s issues are always on my mind, and I am always eager to hear what other feminists (and opposers) have to say. My ears perked up a couple weeks ago when a story came on NPR about Marissa Mayer’s second maternity leave.
On a professional note, she did double the amount of paid maternity leave for Yahoo employees, yet she did away with telecommuting. She also built a nursery next to her office to use with her four month-old son. Yes, she is a CEO of a very large company and arguably works more hours than the traditional full-time employee. But does her clout and wealth allow her certain benefits not afforded to other working moms? Yes. Does taking only a few weeks of maternity leave and working throughout set presidence for other women taking maternity leave? Unfortunately, yes.
While any woman should be able to do what is best for her personal situation, in this country, society groups women together when considering what women should do. It is as if we are incapable of making decisions for ourselves. We are judged for taking time off. We are judged for asking for flexible work schedules. We are judged for bringing our children to conferences or work. We are judged when our children get sick. We are judged constantly, regardless of what the laws state.
I loathe the whole lean in crap circulating right now. As if women cannot be multiple identities at once. We can work and be mothers if that is what we want to do. Marissa Mayer, as well as other women, should not be admonished by the public for only taking a few weeks of maternity leave. We, however, should recognize as a society our role in women’s issues, including paid maternity leave and support of working mothers.
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