Monday might have been one of the biggest days in Marissa Mayer’s life.
After Internet pioneer Yahoo announced it had successfully wooed Ms. Mayer to be its fifth chief executive officer in five years, the 37-year-old tech leader made an announcement of her own.
She told Fortune that she was starting her new job seven months pregnant. She and her financier husband, Zachary Bogue, are expecting a little boy on Oct. 7. (Like a good CEO, she probably has all of the details of her birth scheduled in her work calendar.)
Ms. Mayer also said that she “disclosed” her pregnancy to the Yahoo board in June and the directors raised no concerns.
“They showed their evolved thinking,” she said.
This news double whammy has sent shock waves through the Internet, with many seeing Yahoo’s progressive attitude and Ms. Mayer’s ambitious choice as a symbol that women can have it all.
“Yahoo, to its credit, has made a role model of Mayer. What will be really nice, though, is when someone like Mayer won’t have to be a role model,” Megan Graber wrote for the Atlantic. “What will be really, really fantastic is when someone like Mayer can be just a pregnant CEO – rather than, you know, A Pregnant CEO.”
Colleen Taylor at TechCrunch echoed the feminist sentiment: “This kind of coverage doesn’t happen with males, I know, but surely anyone would recognize that Mayer is breaking some new ground here,” she said. “It’s exciting and inspiring to see people who are working incredibly hard in their professional lives while also having growth on the personal side, too.”
Of course, Ms. Mayer isn’t the first chief executive to be pregnant. In fact, two tech start-up companies – college-course discussion site Piazza and the app-creation site Yapp – are run by moms. Piazza's Pooja Sankar is juggling her CEO duties while expecting her first child and Yapp's CEO Maria Seidman is pregnant with her second child.
And all of them – Ms. Mayer included – have vowed to keep their maternity leaves short.
In fact, Ms. Mayer has said that her mat leave will only be a few weeks long and she plans to work through it.
To some moms, that may have been Ms. Mayer’s most shocking piece of news.
Mia Freedman applauded the new Yahoo chief’s ambition but also wrote that she is about to experience a reality check. Writing about her own naive expectations with maternity leave before having her baby, Ms. Freedman said she too believed she would only need a few weeks and that she’d work from home during that time. But then she had the baby and things changed.
“… My days suddenly seemed to have only about two hours in them in which I had to do 10,000 baby-related things,” she said. “Marissa Mayer is the CEO of Yahoo and at seven months pregnant, she’s about to have that same reality hit her too.”
What do you think about the news of Ms. Mayer’s pregnancy and her maternity leave plans?
Editor's Note: An earlier version contained incorrect information on the tech company Yapp.