Earlier this week, former Google executive Marissa Mayer officially declared she will have another new position aside from being the new CEO of Yahoo; the 37-year-old will soon become a mother for the first time.
However, Mayer has been facing some backlash since the announcement.
Why? According to USA TODAY, she has released her plans to work straight through an already-short maternity leave.
Many of her criticizers say that she is underestimating the challenge of what it takes to be a mother (and a good one at that), while others point fingers at her decision to continue to work.
“Despite all the changes in society, we haven’t given up traditional gender roles,” Laura Graves said to USA TODAY. The associate professor of management at the Graduate School of Management at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is also a mother-to-be.
However, last year’s numbers say otherwise. In today’s society, it’s common for both parents to work, as opposed to just the father, or father figure.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, “both the husband and wife were employed in 47.5 percent of married-couple families. … The husband was the only worker in 19.9 percent of married-couple families, and the wife was the only worker in 8.3 percent.”
Savannah Lang, a sophomore majoring in political science and psychology at Iona College, said she thinks it is a person — or woman’s — right to choose whatever role she wants to take.
“People should feel comfortable filling whatever roles they see best,” she said.
She pointed out that recently, many feminists have focused on alleviating the idea that people look down on women who choose to stay home instead of going after a career.
“It’s important to remember that everyone has different priorities in life,” she said. “That’s what feminism is about: having the right to choose.”
Lang considers herself a feminist. She is interested in women’s rights and is considering picking up a women’s studies minor this year.
As far as Mayer is concerned, Lang said she feels that “[if] she thinks she can handle it, I think she has the right to try.”
“I think what’s great about a woman in her position is that she can make choices that a lot of people can’t because she has the resources: she’s well-known in the world, she has a reputation and she has the money to provide care for her child that a lot of families can’t,” Lang said.
Lang said that the fact that Mayer is in the public eye right now can help to possibly set a trend for other women who look up to her.
“I think it set a tone — it showed that she had nothing to hide,” she said. “She made a really smart decision by laying everything out there right away. It definitely set the tone for the type of person she is.”
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