Marissa Mayer, the newly-appointed CEO of Yahoo, recently announced that she was six months pregnant. It's a story that the media and the public can't seem to get enough of.
Her announcement has served as a springboard for critics of Mayer, arguing that it is impossible to balance impending motherhood with the responsibility of running a company the size of Yahoo.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, a writer for Salon, and author of a recent article which lambasts the criticism of Mayer, believes that the doubts about the newly promoted CEO's capabilities to balance work and motherhood are unfounded.
"Here we have this amazing historic moment in American business," she says. "We have this woman who is in one of the most powerful positions in American business, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and she is listening to pretty much what every working woman has heard when she's disclosed that she is pregnant, which is 'Sweetheart, you just don't know what you're getting into. Honey, it's going to be so much harder than you think. You just don't know.'"
"The idea that women can't multitask, or that they somehow that they can't handle motherhood and the responsibilities of a high-powered career at the same time is just arrogant," Williams says. "It's arrogant, and it's silly — women have been multitasking since the dawn of humanity."
What frustrates Williams particularly is the condescending attitude towards Mayer that she believes many critics have. "It's that kind of 'Tut-tut dear, let me tell you what it's really like and how it's really going to go down' that we mothers deal with a lot," she says.
Mayer has said that her maternity leave will last for only several weeks, and that she plans to "work through it."