The Surprising Victim Of Marissa Mayer's New Mandate

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

The Yahoo! CEO targets her own gender with a major policy change.

In doing research for this article, I read a lot about the pros and cons of Mayer's decision. The most startling position I encountered came from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, who made headlines last year with her controversial article in The Atlantic on why women "still can't have it all."

Slaughter recently blogged that "Marissa Mayer is a CEO first and a woman second. Indeed, she is a role model for many precisely because she made it to the top job." Excuse me? When was the last time a male CEO's corporate decisions were dissected, defended and/or blasted because of his gender? So, why the distinction for a woman? And what does this say about a woman's ability to lead? Is she only effective if she makes decisions "like a man?"

What would be wrong if the country's first female CEO who gave birth while running a company also championed the rights of working women everywhere? Wouldn't a female CEO be more effective if she celebrated her gender rather than sweeping it under the rug as if saying "Oops, I've got ovaries. My bad!"?

Marissa Mayer — and all CEOs everywhere who are considering a move like Meyer's — I get that you are making decisions based on the greater good of the corporation. But what about the greater good of the men and women who work for you, who are more than a name on an org chart, who work hard to earn a living and have earned the right to balance work and family? Their version of work-life balance may look dramatically different from your adjoining cubicle-style-nursery so you can live at the office, but it's no less valuable and their contributions should be no less valued.