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Friday, July 20, 2012

Maternity leave debate

When recently-appointed Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, 37, announced that she was 6 months pregnant when she was hired, and said she planned to take just a few weeks maternity leave, and would work during them, the blogsophere blew up with commentary, many noting (fairly, IMO) that she was setting a rather bad example for other women, who are fighting for more leave, not less. Of course, she's welcome to do whatever she wants, and many many women do not have the luxury of paid leave, so they do what they must. But the larger issue is still a concern - that women deserve some time off to care for new babies, without having to apologize for it.  If we really support families, maternity leave is an essential part of expressing that.
I enjoyed the conversation on Tell Me More (as always) - one woman noted that Ms Mayer has never had a child and has no idea what it entails (made me think of Leo's plans to put an addition on their house during their leave with their first child; I also remember reading a terrific essay about a woman planning to learn French since she'd have so much free time during her leave).  Another said that she feels discouraged that the conversation rarely includes paternity leave, and said that her husband took a scant 3 days off when their first child was born, very much to her detriment (Larry took the obligatory one week for both our children, but spent most of the time dealing with Matthew).



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