PICCADILLY — Okay, I’ll have a go.
“Yahoo! hires pregnant CEO”
…is a good headline. And the articles that follow are food for thought as well.
There are, of course, the requisite quotes about never hiring women of an age to be having children. There is also the fact that in the United States of America, where the Yahoo! CEO will be based, woman have about enough time to gather their things and floss their teeth before they’re expected back at work after having a child.
That’s all true.
However, it is also not true.
You can wheel out a quote from UK TV businessman Alan Sugar and the Chairman of Glencore (he’s 72!) saying age, and the possibility they might procreate, affects the hiring of women. And, if you’re that way inclined, you can agree that they are (stupid enough) to be saying what everyone is thinking.
There have been countless exposés in the UK this month about racism (in football). They talk about how implicit racism, that has taken the place of explicit racism.
And you could make a very healthy argument that there remains a lot of implicit sexism in the market. I have no doubt that there are many, many college theses proving this as a fact.
As a friend who has found himself on the wrong end of explicit and implicit bias said to me, with a shrug, “people say stupid things.”
Yes they do.
My grandfather told me my first racist joke. About a Spanish person, when I was about 5. It was great having him at my wedding 20 years later when I married one.
But back to hiring women who are, or may be, pregnant.
Anyone who thinks it is a bad idea deserves all the staff they get. In our experience some of the best people in the market (let’s say about 50%?) are women. And they may or may not be pregnant one day.
If you can’t or won’t hire them then you’re going to be half as good as anyone else.
And — while we’re on the topic — same goes for working mothers.
But let’s look at that another day.