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.

There are lots of things that get me fired up these days: the shrinking middle class; corporate greed; politicians behaving like kindergarteners who haven't had a nap and refuse to play nice — ever. But what's got me fired up lately is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's mandate that all telecommuting employees must start reporting to work at the company's corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley starting in June.

Her logic? Mayer's now-infamous directive included phrases like "promoting innovation" and the need to "be working side-by-side." And while the 37-year-old CEO has a stellar track record as a longtime executive and key spokesperson for Google prior to taking over as CEO for Yahoo in 2012 — a company she was clearly hired to turn around in record time — here's what's more important to know about her: She's a wife, a new mom and and the first woman ever to give birth while heading a Fortune 500 company.

While this is clearly a business-based decision, I'm less interested in the bullet points that drove Mayer's directive and more concerned with what the move means for the future of working women. In a culture where women have the opportunity to outearn men, and where more and more women are assuming leadership positions at all levels of society (government, corporations, entertainment, etc.), our personal and professional culture hasn't evolved much to accommodate this new normal ... that is, unless you're a member of the elite one percent, which Mayer clearly is.

While Mayer can afford to juggle career, family and marriage — having a nursery built next door to her office — the majority of working women in this country don't have the same luxury. This includes many of Yahoo's telecommuting class and hundreds of thousands of other men and women who have joined the legions of telecommuters who successfully juggle work and family only because they get to work from home.

What happens to these working families now? Has Mayer's decision flipped working women everywhere the proverbial bird? Take the working women at Yahoo, whose telecommuting careers effectively end June 1. How many of them can afford to relocate to Silicon Valley, to an office life away from home and bear the financial burden of nannies, day care or other childcare arrangements they'll now need? How many of these women will now have to make the difficult choice between working outside the home to earn a living or quit their job to stay home with their kids? And from a cultural perspective, how many other companies will follow suit in ending their telecommuting policies like Mayer? Keep reading ...

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