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July 17 2012

Yahoo! Hires Pregnant(!) CEO

Hadley Heath

Marissa Mayer has spent the last 13 years working hard with great success at Google.  Now the 37-year-old is moving to Yahoo!, where she will be CEO.

Interestingly enough, Mayer is due to deliver a baby boy on October 7, 2012.  So at this point, she's probably showing.  How did she hide her bump from her interviewers at Yahoo!?  

Well, she didn't.  As ABC News reports, Yahoo! was aware of her "condition" when they offered her the job:

When the Yahoo recruiter first contacted Mayer June 18, she was well-aware that she would soon be a new mother. She told Yahoo's board about her pregnancy in late June. 

...Mayer's pregnancy was not an issue to the company's board. Yahoo's decision reflects a change in a business environment once inhospitable to mothers and women expecting children.

"It was not part of the consideration," said an anonymous person familiar with the situation. "Like every other professional woman, she has to weigh all the factors in doing her job and having a family."

I bet her pregnancy was absolutely a part of the consideration at Yahoo!  But ultimately, the internet company's board probably decided that it was worth giving Mayer some additonal flexibility in the coming months in order to bring her on as CEO.  Her skills and experience will add much more to the company than the short-term loss they might experience by having a CEO out on a brief maternity leave.

We should definitely celebrate this event; it shows that the board at Yahoo! was able to make this decision instead of blindly ruling Mayer out because she's pregnant.  

Furthermore, we should also celebrate that this event illustrates that women (even while pregnant) are worthwhile, meritorious workers who don't need government to step in on our behalf.  No one forced Yahoo! to make this call, but they wouldn't have made it if it didn't pass the cost-benefit analysis that firms use to evaluate new hires and other business decisions.  Even while pregnant, Mayer was deemed to be the best pick for the job so she got it.

Rather than trying to force employers into strict, one-size-fits-all workplace regulations, our policymakers should take note of Mayer.  It's flexibility, not mandates, that are allowing her to juggle CEO and Mom-to-be.  

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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