In Defense of a Shorter Maternity Leave

Monday, October 08, 2012

Marissa Mayer speaks during an announcement September 8, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Back in July, Marissa Mayer took the reigns of Yahoo. In the process, she became the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company. But while her youth made history, it was the fact that she was six months pregnant when she took the job that had the blogosphere passing judgment.

But if they were passing judgment then, they're throwing it overhand now as Mayer returns to work, just two weeks after giving birth. Is this conversation an important one for women everywhere? Or is it just none of our business?

Denise Albert has some idea of the criticism that Mayer is facing. A journalist, television producer, and mom, she took no maternity leave at all when she had her younger son.

"The stakes are really high, and I think that's probably one of the reasons why she's going back to work so quickly," Albert said. "But it's also who she is."

Albert thinks that how much maternity leave a woman takes should really be an individual decision. She congratulates Marissa Mayer for accepting such a demanding job while six months pregnant, and commends Yahoo! for offering it to her under those circumstances. 

While some have expressed concerns that Marissa Mayer's example could be misused to rob women of maternity leave when they do need it, Denise Albert thinks this can only be a good thing for women.  

"My boys look at me as a hard-working businesswoman," Albert says. And perhaps this is as important for feminism as maternity leave is.


Denise Albert

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer and Maggie Penman

Comments [5]

Hell's Kitchen from Manhattan

I love that neither the host nor the guest have yet alluded to *why* Mayer can afford to return to work in two weeks--because she (and clearly the guest) is a high-earner and can afford the price of childcare in the U.S. All other discussions of personality, emotions, feminism, whatever, are moot--it's the economics, stupid.

"Loving what you do" is a euphemism for earning at least $30,000 a year in disposable income that a parent can put toward a nanny.

Oct. 08 2012 03:46 PM
Steven from Brooklyn, NY

Isn't the question why we don't have paid maternity leave like every European welfare state and then women and men would have the opportunity to make this decision without the financial pressures?

Oct. 08 2012 03:45 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I really don't care what other people do with their kids. I've had to watch mine like a hawk since they were born. Born trouble makers, just like their daddy.

Perhaps, for some no time is needed whatsoever for maternity leave. Perhaps, Scientists will be able to remove the fetus from the woman and the fetus can grow in a controlled stroller environment (still attached to the umbilical chord) as the woman goes jogging...It's a new world folks, we all have to wake up and smell... some one else's something.

Oct. 08 2012 10:41 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I think it's an error to think that a man can take care of a young child as well as a woman can. Heretical to say so, but common sense.

Of course her child is doing fine. Adopted children do fine. Centuries ago children of the wealthy were raised by nannies and servants. It worked, not criticizing.

Oct. 08 2012 10:05 AM
g from staten island

When you make her salary, you can do what you want. She can afford as much at home assistance as she needs to care for her family. Lower wage women cannot pay for that kind of at home assistance. And if she wants to be a sty-at-home mom in a few years--she will probably have the savings to do it, so it will have been worth going back from maternity leave early. Her life situation is not comparable to most of the rest of moms!

Oct. 08 2012 09:48 AM

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