Warning: This post is ranty.
I am sick to death of all the Marissa Meyers hate being slung around the internet this week. I was going to list the (vicious mainly) blog titles and articles I read this week, but someone beat me to it. See: http://www.businessinsider.com/criticism-of-marissa-mayer-by-moms-2013-2
Vicious, no? And what is all of this hate based on? She *gasp* instituted a policy of no more tele-commuting and no more flex work schedules.
There seem to be two camps of outcry:
1. Telecommuting and flex scheduling has been shown to be good for employees health and productivity.
2. She’s a woman, and a MOM*, so therefore she is obligated to make business decisions that ‘help’ Mothers.
I’ll get back to these camps later, but a ranty prelude.
I, as a woman and a feminist, am outraged by the school of thought that because I have ovaries and the ability to birth another human means that all of my decisions should be made (and seen) through that lens. Ladies and Gents that is the not what feminism is about. Feminism means that women should have the same opportunities as men and should not be denied them because of their ovaries. It doesn’t mean that they are required to make decisions because of them.
Now, there is the school of the thought that “Women have it hard enough. Other women in positions of power should do what they can to help them.” Fair enough. Although for the record, women should do what they can to help everyone they’re able to, positions of power or no and whatever their reproductive system is. And while it is a lovely and admirable school of thought, it is just that: one school of thought. Other people are entitled to their opinions on the matter.
Circling it back in to Marissa Meyers for a second.
1. While this is not getting near as much press (shocker) several ex-Yahoo employees have applauded Ms. Meyers decision saying that it was a well established fact that Yahoo employees abused these policies. See here So: She’s doing her job of making Yahoo more profitable and better run.
2. She (allegedly) paid to set up a nursery in her office.
Let’s go over some facts shall we? This woman is the CEO of a major tech company. CEO’s get perks other workers don’t. Fact. She paid to have a nursery installed in her office. I.e. With her own money. I’m delighted to have her do that rather then use corporate funds to fly on a private jet or take an obscene bonus home at Christmas. Also, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say her child is not with her all the time, or even during normal work hours. It just doesn’t seem like this woman’s style. More likely, this is for when she is working after hours or super early or when her kid you know, visits.
3. Some jobs can not be done via telecommuting or with a flex work schedule.
Flex schedule and telecommuting is great. But there are some jobs that simply can’t be done that way. I had to leave a job because of that. Could it have been done with me working several hours away from the physical office? Possibly, but with the way the job was structured, and the sheer demands of the job made it highly unlikely. Also, there are some jobs, and some weeks at certain jobs, that just require you to be “on” all the time. I plan events. If I’m not reachable during normal business hours (and frequently after normal hours) the event can–easily–fall apart. It’s just a fact of the job. And I accept that. Is it a job I’ll do (or want to do) when I have children? Probably not, because I know how time consuming and draining the job can be.
Also, now that it’s been a week, many business publications (Forbes for one) are coming out saying that this is not a terrible idea.
But really this whole thing makes me ranty because if Marissa Meyer was a man, there would have been–maybe–a quarter of the outcry. And that outcry would have been in the form of tech blogs and a few news articles that focused on work-life balance. If Marissa was Mike she would not have people ripping her apart because of her business decision. And that infuriates me.
Women are never going to be able to adequately fight the very real discrimination that exists today until we stop ripping each other apart.
I’m a woman. Someday I might be a Mom. But I am so much more then that. It doesn’t inform every thought I have or decision I make. And it shouldn’t have to. Stop judging other women’s choices based on their reproductive system…it’s harmful.
*Caps are for emphasis
**These two concepts are not mutually exclusive…I have a job with flex scheduling that I love.