Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced this morning via Tumblr that she’s expecting identical twin girls, likely in December. She was pregnant with her first child when she assumed the job in the first place, and was back within two weeks of his birth. She has similar plans this time around.
“Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout,” Mayer writes.
The company actually offers fairly generous leave, since Mayer extended paid paternal leave to eight weeks a couple of years ago, and mothers can take an additional eight weeks on top of that—substantially better than the norm in the US. But Mayer clearly feels that she herself can’t take off for two months—let alone four—while the company that she manages closely is still in flux.
Mayer was criticized for returning to work so quickly after having her first child, with some saying that she was setting a bad example for mothers, one that people without the ability to pay for extensive childcare would have a tough time matching.
It’s worth noting that male CEOs generally don’t face criticism if they don’t take time off after having a child. For most, having a child rarely gets remarked upon at all. But since Mayer is arguably the most prominent female CEO in the United States, her choices are being scrutinized more closely.
The company’s decision to change its policies around remote work was also criticized as being unfriendly to people with children.
This announcement is likely to provoke further debate, with some arguing that Mayer’s is a personal choice and shows dedication to her job; while others complain that she’s setting an example that equates maternity and paternity time off with a lack of commitment—contributing to an environment in which people are discouraged from taking their full entitlement of leave when they have children.