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Female CEOs feeling weight of womanhood

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made a convincing defense of her infamous no-working-from-home memo this week. Speaking at a conference in Los Angeles, she stopped herself mid-idea to say she needed to talk about the elephant in the room. When she was at Google, Mayer helped institute flexible work schedules and make Google a great place to work, which is why her decision at Yahoo came as a surprise.

But working from home is “not what’s right for Yahoo right now,” she said, adding, though, that it was a mistake to make her ban “an industry narrative.” Mayer defended her decision by first acknowledging that “people are more productive when they’re alone,” and then continued, “but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”

Pity the poor female CEO. There are so few that each one is required by the culture to be Gloria Steinem. But here Mayer explains that her responsibility is first to fix the problems of Yahoo, not of womankind. Which is exactly as it should be.

Hanna Rosin writes for Slate.

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