Ignore your biological clock, ladies, Facebook and Apple have announced that they will now be covering the cost of freezing your eggs. Both companies are willing to dish out up to $20,000 per woman for this technology, enough to cover two elective rounds of egg harvesting.
Egg freezing isn’t health care
Just like abortion, egg freezing isn’t necessary for maintaining a woman’s health. And pregnancy and childbirth at later ages can lead to more complications. Paying for this new technology is not about supporting women’s health, it’s about getting more work out of women to benefit their companies.
Paid to put off children
For women who may be considering starting their family, it could mean they end up staying home with their children rather than returning to work at Facebook or Apple. And when these companies have invested a lot of time and money into their female employees, it would make financial sense for them to pay those women to put off having children. And that’s what offering to pay for egg freezing is about. Forbes reports that of the 716 women surveyed who had recently left their tech jobs, more than half of them said it was because they became mothers. But the real kicker is, only 42 percent of those women ever planned on staying home in the first place. That means that women are leaving the tech field to have babies and then deciding to never return.
The tech industry is not friendly to mothers
As it turns out, women aren’t going back because the tech industry isn’t all that good to women. As reported by The Daily Beast, women said that after having children, they didn’t return to their tech jobs because of “inflexible work arrangements, or a bad work environment made their career in tech incongruous with parenting.” In fact, up to 90% of those women surveyed said that they wouldn’t return to the tech industry, ever. So, the problem isn’t about the timing of a pregnancy, but how these companies treat parents.
Does the gift of childbearing make women less valuable than men?
If Facebook and Apple believe that offering this service will make women feel that they are equal to men, they’re wrong. Women were already equal to men, only with the added gift and ability to grow life inside of them. Being able to put off having children by freezing eggs doesn’t make a woman more valuable to the workplace, just like having babies doesn’t make her less valuable, and just like men having children doesn’t make them less valuable. Staying not-pregnant doesn’t level the playing field between men and women, it just makes women feel used and forces them to choose between their career and their desire to have children.
Family and career balance
If Facebook and Apple want women to put off having babies, then what do they really think about a woman’s ability to balance family and career? Are women incapable of having children and working? And once women decide to unfreeze their eggs and hopefully have children, will their company still be there to support them, or will get tossed to the curb in favor of younger employees?
What companies should be focusing on
Instead of focusing on delaying motherhood and convincing women that’s what they want, just to get more time and work out of their employees, companies should be working to help both mothers and fathers have more balanced and fulfilled lives.
It isn’t just mothers who want to watch their children play soccer or sing in the school pageant. Fathers want that too. And with flexible hours, longer parental paid leave, and the ability to work from home part time, companies like Apple and Facebook will discover not only grateful employees, but happier, healthier, and more productive employees who are loyal to a company that invests in families and quality of life. And proving to women that the companies support mothers, will also help women choose life for their unplanned babies, rather than abortion for fear of losing their jobs.