Quelle horreur! Woman is pregnant!, the headlines screamed; with twins, no less. Yes, a woman had unprotected sex during ovulation, and dared to conceive - twice over. There may be just a one in 90 incidence of twins in pregnancy, but does that a newsworthy event make? I’m not so sure, given this woman is but one of 208 million who become pregnant each year - statistically more than two million of who do it with twins.
So if she's making global news, she has to be Kim-K-famous, right? Alongside her unborn children, this woman doesn't carry celebrity exactly, but by announcing her pregnancy she and her offspring were able to shift global economic markets. An impressive feat for two foetuses.
The woman is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the 40-year-old petite blonde who incidentally (and a touch hypocritically?) introduced improved maternity leave for Yahoo staff in 2013. Amid the tumbling share prices that greeted her recent unhappy announcement, Mayer and her PR team rushed to assure investors that she would take “limited time” off after – and presumably before – she gives birth in December. After her 2012 first birth, she took a luxuriant two-week break before returning to work - probably a touch disruptive to the development of the maternal bond. (As an aside, I’d like to see any equivalent male accomplishing such a quick turnaround after squeezing a human being out of his genitals).
One can't help but feel Mayer’s nervous assurances of a quick return to work may be the heinous result of some need (real or perceived) to distance herself from any kind of icky maternal image in the take-no-prisoners mould of our corporate world; the picture of madonna and child somehow not squaring with the trading floor utopia of Profits, Profits, Profits! But where is the logic here? Is a company of 12,000+ fulltime employees really being held together by the glue of just one Amazon-like woman? Yahoo was a hefty monolith before Mayer’s ascension in 2012 and presumably will be long after she has moved on (and, God forbid, started a cookie drive to raise funds for the twins’ prep school petanque pitch).
Now, admittedly having a…divested interest in the goings-on inside Silicon Valley tech companies, I’m not qualified to pass comment on the evidently mixed record of Mayer’s tenure. But if she is any good at her job, surely part of her strength would be assembling a cohesive team that is well-briefed and functional enough to carry on Yahoo’s daily compilation of cat videos in the event Mayer had to, say, give birth for a few weeks – skills that are, ironically, not altogether dissimilar to those of the harmony-imposing domestic titan (i.e. a good mum).
The collective psychology about the role of femininity in the share market – manifest in the two per cent drop in Yahoo share prices – is unfortunately just more grist to the mill of employers who continue to insist the gender pay disparity in almost every country in the world is warranted, what with women’s raging hormones, distracting sexiness and propensity to bloom life. Ladies, be advised: best drop your womanhood at the office door.