Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is holding little back now that she has sold Yahoo’s core Internet assets to Verizon ((VZ)) for $4.8 billion. In an interview with the Financial Times following the news announcement, she denounced previous reporting about her and Yahoo ((YHOO)) that she said has been “gender-charged.”
Mayer, among the 4% of CEOs at Fortune 1,000 companies who are women, was intensely scrutinized for failing to turn around the beleaguered Internet portal by both investors and the media. Even before her time at Yahoo, the press has been fascinated by Mayer, who had previously been among the few female executives at Google.
“I’ve tried to be gender-blind and believe tech is a gender-neutral zone but do think there has been gender-charged reporting,” Mayer told the Financial Times.
She continued: “We all see the things that only plague women leaders, like articles that focus on their appearance, like Hillary Clinton sporting a new pantsuit. I think all women are aware of that, but I had hoped in 2015 and 2016 that I would see fewer articles like that. It’s a shame.”
Mayer had a different take last year when she told Backchannel in 2015 that gender didn’t play a huge role for her as a tech industry CEO.
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Mayer’s comments downplaying gender surprised some because of growing criticism of Silicon Valley’s gender gap. Women account for only 30% of workers, on average. In one high-profile case in 2015, venture capitalist Ellen Pao accused her former employer, Kleiner Perkins, of gender discrimination. Although she lost the case, the testimony shed an unflattering light on the boys club atmosphere at the firm and its lack of women in leadership positions.
Despite being one of the few female CEOs in the Fortune 500, Mayer may not hold her leadership title for long. While it appears that Mayer will remain with Yahoo until the end of the sale, she’s not expected to join Verizon after the deal’s expected closing in 2017.