Google's first female engineer and 20th employee (she began working for the search engine when it was in its start up phase in 1999) is now parting ways with the company that has made her a billionaire to become the first female chief executive of Yahoo.
But what's even more, Marissa Mayer is also currently six months pregnant with her first child, bringing us back to the topic that's been on our minds: can women have it all?
Mayer has already been telling the media she expects her maternity leave to be “a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it,” and although Yahoo hasn't revealed Mayer’s compensation, it’s fairly obvious to say that the 37-year-old will be earning enough to have nannies, housekeepers, and whatever else she may need (let's just say she lives in a $5 million penthouse).
So, can the woman responsible for the clean look of Google.com, studies in artificial intelligence, and dines at charity auction lunches with Oscar de la Renta for $60,000 have it all?
Today, the Wall Street Journal's blog commented on Mayer's new position in her career and personal life. The author talks about all of the possible hiccups that might occur while balancing having your first child and spearheading a huge company. Like, for example, what if Yahoo's top competitor launched an aggressive attack right after the baby was born? What if she is subject to post-partem depression? After a series of “what if's” she went on to say, “Because as a woman and a professional, Mayer just ratcheted up the stakes—not just for Yahoo, its customers and its investors, but for working moms everywhere, not to mention our children. I feel like I imagine so many African-Americans felt when Barack Obama was elected: Hopeful, and a little apprehensive. Mayer is embarking on something incredibly difficult, that no other American businesswoman has ever done. For her sake and for mine, may she have the wind at her back.”
On another note, Malaysian Olympic air rifle shooter, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, will be eight months pregnant when she competes at the London games this summer. She will hold the record as the most heavily pregnant woman to compete in history. The 29-year-old told the New York Times of her pregnancy, “For me nothing is impossible,” she said. “It’s one of the challenges. If I abandoned it, maybe who knows? Another four years to wait, maybe I don’t have the opportunity.”
What can bloggers take away from this? Well, a couple of things. For one, it seems that some women are just trying to figure it out, and refuse to say no to an opportunity in their career because of their desire to have a family. Who knows? Maybe both women will realize it's all too much, or maybe they will find a balance — but the point is, these women should serve as inspiration. They show it's not impossible to do both. Sure, it may be difficult, and there may not be much sleep involved, but some women are willing to take that risk.
Does this change your opinion on whether women can have it all? What do you think?
[Image credit: Photographed by Norman Jean Roy, Vogue, August 2009]