Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s announcement that she will take little time off after delivering twins this December has thrust U.S. maternity leave—or the lack thereof—back into the spotlight.
“Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation,” she wrote on Tumblr, “I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.”
While that’s her prerogative and personal choice, Mayer’s decision to get right back to work has prompted criticism from some women who think it puts undue pressure on other new moms to forego a longer maternity leave, even when it’s offered. Other critics point that out they don’t have the luxury of choosing whether to take a paid maternity leave at all.
Here are a few facts about U.S. maternity leave that might surprise you:
1. Just 1 in 4 mothers will go back to work less than two weeks after having a baby
That’s the astounding finding from a recent analysis of government data by Abt Associates. The women able to take more leave typically have college degrees and white-collar jobs. While Mayer is set to take a very short leave, she’ll also have more opportunities to see her children during a typical workday. After giving birth to her son in 2013, she made headlines for building a nursery in her office. Most parents can’t do that.