Google was co-founded by two Stanford University graduates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in 1997. The very next year, the need for an office space led the two future billionaires to rent a garage on the Santa Margarita Ave in Menlo Park, CA. The owner of the property was Susan Wojcici, who would later be employed by Google as the eighteenth employee of the company. While Ms. Wojcici has since moved out of her Menlo Park home, her association with Google has only taken deeper roots, having served as the company’s Vice President of advertising and commerce. She is currently the CEO of YouTube, the video sharing service Google bought in February, 2005 for a price of $1.65 billion.
Speaking at Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce, on Thursday, Ms. Wojcici revealed that she charged Messrs. Page and Brin $1,700 per month for renting out her garage. “(Rent) is even more expensive now, but it was expensive back then”, said she. Susan Wojcici also recalled her experiences about working as a pregnant woman in Google, and spoke about how shocked she was to learn about the statistics regarding paid maternity leave for women in the US. “I was really surprised to learn that most women in the US don’t have paid maternity leave, regardless of the job,” she said. “In the private sector, only 12% of women have paid maternity leave, and 25% women go back to work after 10 days.”
According to her, companies need to do more to encourage female employees wanting to start a family. “You’re more ready to return to work when your kids are older, they’re sleeping better, they’re getting closer to eating real food,” she said. “The really sad thing is a lot of women have to go back because they don’t want to lose their jobs or they want to have income”. She expressed her dismay at the fact that young mothers do not get as much time off work as they need, and said that she believes “Paid maternity leave is also good for business”. Talking about paid maternity leave, women employees at Google get 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, whereas men get 12 weeks off of their jobs for the birth of their children, without having to take a pay cut.