Yesterday afternoon, Yahoo named Marissa Mayer as their new chief executive officer. And shortly after the news broke, Mayer announced she was expecting a baby boy in October. This makes Mayer the first-ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That’s on top of being one of only 19 female CEOs in the Fortune 500.
Board members at Yahoo were aware that Mayer was expecting during the hiring process, and treated her pregnancy with a respect and deference very few women get to enjoy in the workplace. According to Mashable, an anonymous source said, “It was not part of the consideration. …Like every other professional woman, she has to weigh all the factors in doing her job and having a family”:
Mayer also expressed that she was pleased the Yahoo board was not concerned, telling Fortune their actions “showed their evolved thinking.”
And as far as maternity leave goes, don’t expect Mayer to be out of the office for long. The new CEO plans to return to the office after a few short weeks and will be working throughout her time off. Yahoo’s scheduled September board meeting will be in Sunnyvale, Calif., rather than New York, to accommodate for the expecting mother-to-be.
For most women, being pregnant can be a major ordeal, and many workplaces are not so accommodating. Though her maternity leave may be just “a few short weeks” after giving birth, the U.S. is one of the only nations that does not require any paid maternity leave.
In fact, just this week, RH Reality Check reported that the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act was dead on arrival in Congress. That bill that would have protected pregnant women from discrimination at work and required employers to make accommodations for mothers-to-be, including allowing them to have a bottle of water or a stool to sit on at work.
Her role as Yahoo’s CEO makes Mayer one of the most prominent women in business and tech. That should give her and her company a platform to lead by example on pregnant workers’ rights.