Being “good for a girl.”

So Yahoo has a new CEO and the world is buzzing because of it. Not just because she a female with a new, big job, but because she is also pregnant and plans on working through her maternity leave and returning to the job a few weeks after giving birth. Good luck with that, Marissa Mayer. You’re going to need it.

A few weeks ago, a media company invited me to breakfast and opened the conversation by saying, “I looked at your resume on LinkedIn and I was surprised at how high up you got at different organizations.” Did I hear an unspoken “…for a woman?” I think so.

It’s tough being a working mother. Your whole life becomes a schedule as you try to fit everything in. (Except usually yourself.) I’ve been juggling it all for years now, but in reality I wouldn’t have it any other way. For some of us, it’s just our DNA.

34 years ago, I was told at my first job in New York, “You’re pretty good for a girl.” Over the years I was told my name was only on the door because I was married to the CEO, but clandestinely using my maiden name. Wrong. I have been accused of sleeping with the CEO, two different Creative Directors and a CMO to get what I want. Oh, so wrong.

It’s unfortunate that gender even has to come into the equation or age-old stereotypical accusations of using sex to get ahead. Why can’t we just be allowed to be good at our jobs? Why does it have to be filtered through a female lens?

I think we are at a crossroads. Technology and social media combined with our spending power and influence is creating an amazing opportunity for the advancement in women. Never has there been this level of accessibility to community and tools to harness collective knowledge and collaborate. For years there has been “The Boys Club” but women are coming together today to affect change in so many areas.

I wholeheartedly hope Marissa succeeds at her new job(s) as both CEO and mother. The world will be watching her and I don’t envy the scrutiny she will be under as she tries to fulfill both the requirements of the new job and motherhood.

Originally posted on Mom-entum. Follow Holly Pavlika at @HollyPavlika.

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  2. 07/31 2012

    great piece. I’m not a mom just yet, but I like to think I’m learning from the best. There are tons of entrepreneur-super moms managing businesses and building their brands on a hyper local scale. Social media has definitely made it easier to communicate to our niche consumers in the most sincere, non-threatening, of ways. I’m kinda looking forward to see how my professional market changes when I become a mom.

  3. 08/5 2012

    Thank you for this piece. When I read about Yahoo’s new CEO my reaction was “great you’ve just need opened the door to the celler for women.” I agree it is something in our DNA which makes us get up and produce even when we’re so dead tired we should be sleeping and taking care of ourselves. I have been brought in to be a manager, but then had to answer to a male who I also had to train. When I was finally given the “title” I wasn’t given the same pay. I own my own company and consult for businesses helping them develop and grow their business. Recently I was told by the hiring male that his wife would feel more comfortable with him hiring me if I weighed 400 pounds. So women aren’t only threatening men, but unless we get it together and stop working against each other and comprimising what we’ve worked for such as the right to Maternity Leave, then we just shoved our Gender back many years.

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