I find myself lucky to be working at the period in history that I’m working right now. Entering the workforce in 2010 provided me access to strong women in leadership roles and countless women success stories to aspire to. I couldn’t imagine entering the workforce in the early ’80s when the boardrooms and managerial roles, let alone executive roles, were dominated solely by men. How discouraging would it have been to be bright eyed, hungry, and ambitious only to see the limitations ahead? As millennials, we are so fortunate to have had trailblazers create new paths and break molds. It is important to keep pushing young women to shatter the glass ceiling and encourage them to not settle for status quo. With that being said, there is nothing wrong in being a stay at home mom or whatever they choose to be. Rather, the message and mindset should not be to settle only because moving ahead doesn’t seem to be a viable option.
When Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, gave birth shortly after joining her new position as head of Yahoo, headlines like “Yahoo CEO gives birth, then gives short shrift to maternity leave” or “How Relevant Is Marissa Mayer’s Maternity Leave? Not Very” popped up everywhere. What bothered me wasn’t the debate to whether or no she took mat leave. What did bothered me was that it was even a headline at all. And to further fuel my fire was that it spread into additional headlines as to whether or not her mat leave was something we should be talking about. I recognize though, that the topic is something that needs to be raised still. Unfortunately the workplace hasn’t progressed enough for the topic of maternity leave not to be of a concern for employers and it will take many more headlines of women in c-suite positions making the same decision before we can accept that their decision is their own and not one that should be scrutinized. I fully appreciated that Mayers never commented on her pregnancy or mat leave and continued with the idea of business as usual.
As a society, we have made great strides to getting more women in leadership roles. There are many studies, articles, reports, findings, etc. that have shown that women in leadership role help companies perform better. Let’s continue to encourage these dialogues, help other young women in your workplace develop, and take time to coach women into becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
Because at the end of the day, companies with women board members outperforms companies with all-male boards and who doesn’t want that?