Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Focus on Marissa Mayer's brain, not her pregnancy

By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
July 21, 2012 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
Roland Martin says Marissa Mayer is capable of handling her new job at Yahoo and her pregnancy.
Roland Martin says Marissa Mayer is capable of handling her new job at Yahoo and her pregnancy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yahoo's new CEO is Marissa Mayer, who recently revealed she's pregnant
  • Roland Martin says there's been too much discussion of her pregnancy
  • People should focus on Mayer's abilities and intelligence, he says

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- Yahoo announced this week that it nabbed top Google exec Marissa Mayer as their new CEO. But it's not her qualifications for the job that were all the buzz. Instead, it was her announcement that she was pregnant and will continue to work as CEO.

Social media, radio airwaves and water cooler talk was all about Mayer becoming the first-ever pregnant Fortune 500 CEO. Seriously, America, can we stop this ridiculous double standard that women have to endure when they choose to work and have kids?

Every time a woman is in position to ascend to the top post, be it in politics or business, we immediately begin to question her uterus instead of her brain.

Tech: Know Mayer in 11 fun facts

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

It goes to show how male-dominated we are in our thinking. We might as well go ahead and say that we prefer men to go to work and women stay at home and raise the kids.

In the past, when women put in the long years to rise to the top, for the most part, they were past their child bearing years. Now that we are seeing women rise up the corporate ladder faster than before, we had better get used to it.

In Mayer's case, she is 37 years old. And there is nothing wrong with her choosing to have a child and continue as CEO. Will she take some time off? Of course. But please explain to me what's the difference between a male CEO taking some time off for medical leave and Mayer having a child?

Marissa Mayer takes over at Yahoo!
E-Block: Yahoo's surprising CEO pick

At Apple, the late Steve Jobs took a medical leave. Was he still involved in running the company as he sought treatment for cancer? Yep. The company was questioned more for not revealing enough detail about his absence because he was such a critical player in its success.

Tech: Six life lessons from Yahoo CEO

Recently, three companies -- American Equity, Sourcefire and Union Pacific -- announced that their CEOs were taking medical leaves.

The CEO clearly is the most critical person in a company's leadership chain. But a smart chief executive officer is also smart enough to build a strong team that has the ability to manage the decision-making while the CEO is out of the office.

When there is so much negative discussion over a woman choosing to have a career and a family, we are sending a shameful message at a time when we should be encouraging women instead of discouraging them.

Maybe we should flip the conversation and discuss when it makes sense for men married to high-powered women to step back from their careers in order to raise the child.

Living: If Mayer can have it all, can you?

Years ago Michael Keaton touched on the topic in the movie "Mr. Mom" in which he was a corporate executive who lost his job while his wife shot up the chart at her company. He struggled with having to raise the kids, but finally came to the conclusion that he could do the job.

But it seems that as a nation, we are afraid to have that conversation. Maybe this is because we are too afraid to let go of the traditional "man-brings-home-the-bacon-and-the-woman-fries-it-in-the-pan" mentality.

Well, I'm not. I want to see Mayer succeed as CEO of Yahoo, as well as be a good mother to her child. And since everyone talks about her brilliance, she'll likely pull it off with ease and grace.

Opinion: Mayer can revive Yahoo, and the Web

So, Marissa, handle your business at Yahoo, and at home!

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland S. Martin.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 2334 GMT (0734 HKT)
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0442 GMT (1242 HKT)
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1938 GMT (0338 HKT)
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2301 GMT (0701 HKT)
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT)
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0208 GMT (1008 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2250 GMT (0650 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
October 11, 2014 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT