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Gini Dietrich

Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

By: Gini Dietrich | July 19, 2012 | 
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I have a question. Why are so many journalists and bloggers writing with advice for Marissa Mayer?

Risking the fact that you might be tired of the “women rule” trip I’m on lately, I really want to know what the heck is going on.

If this were a 37-year-old man whose wife was pregnant, we wouldn’t be talking about this. In fact, it would be a non-story, other than the fifth CEO in five years has joined Yahoo! and Wall Street is paying attention.

They might wonder why he hadn’t attended the earnings call on his first day. That could have been a story. And, certainly, coming from Google is a story.

But it wouldn’t be about his gender, his age, the fact that he and his wife are expecting, or even how he feels about burnout and whether or not it’s naive.

No one would give him advice, as it compares to Carly Fiorina’s “failure” at HP. No one would be talking about the “glass cliff” he’s on (do you know this term? It’s going to make you angry). No one would be giving him advice about taking leave after the baby arrives. And certainly no one would be putting the work/life balance discussion squarely on his shoulders by saying,

Women and girls the world over are looking to you to inspire, set trends in the workplace, and establish what it means to be a young working mom helming a Fortune 500 company.

Is this really 2012? Or have we stepped into a time warp?

Yahoo!, the once Internet darling, isn’t faring so well, and it may take longer than five years to undo what her predecessors have left in their wake. There may be some sour apples that interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn, didn’t get the job. And, according to reports, the culture is in dire need of fixing.

All of these things would be there no matter who took over the helm.

I wish her the best of luck in her new job. I hope she’s not on a glass cliff, but has success at Yahoo!.

That’s the conversation we should be having in a year – what she’s doing to turn around the company; not her age, her new baby, or her gender.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

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