Sisterhood Blog

Why Marissa Mayer Just Doesn't Get It

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is making headlines for her new decree that company employees will no longer be able to work from home.

It is every chief executive’s prerogative, of course, to institute policies that are best for his or her company, and this may well be best for Yahoo. I have no idea. But it is definitely not best for parents — of either gender — who want or need the flexibility of being able to work from home one or more days a week in order to continue to both be present for their children and do their jobs.

Mayer herself returned to work two weeks after giving birth to her first child. She has every right to make that decision for herself and her family. She can also afford the very best childcare that money can buy. But the day may come when she sees that her child needs her at his school performance or soccer game or to be home with him when he’s sick just as much as Yahoo needs her to be making tough decisions.

Women as powerful as former U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter, who is now a Princeton University professor, struggle with the balance, as she publicly revealed in her honest and insightful Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,, as do those of us working at far more humble levels.

Mayer may see her responsibility as a corporate chieftain as being only to her shareholders. But I believe that powerful CEOs have a social responsibility to their employees as well — to offer decent and affordable health insurance options, for instance, as well as humane parental leave policies. As the New York Times column linked above notes, Yahoo’s parental leave policy remains a mystery.

On television Tuesday night is the PBS documentary “Makers: Women who Make America,. According to this New York Times review Mayer is one of the women interviewed, and says:

She is not a feminist because she doesn’t have that ‘militant drive’ or a ‘chip on her shoulder.’

How sad it is to see one of the most powerful women in corporate America so misapprehend what feminism is and belittle it in the process.

Then again, neither the title nor the PBS website’s write up about this important documentary includes the word feminism. Its absence, as well as statements and policy decisions like Mayer’s, say more than words ever could about how much more work there remains for feminism to do.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sisterhood, jewish women, marissa mayer, motherhood

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.