In the latest installment of the technology industry’s lack of accessibility to women, Facebook and Apple unveiled a policy, offering $20,000 toward the costs of egg-freezing. The procedure, made possible by technological advancements, allows women to extend their fertility by freezing eggs that they can then unfreeze to bear children at a later date. I’m not entirely against the idea of egg freezing. It does, after all, take away the biological pressure for women to have children in their 20s and 30s. Yet, it undoubtedly reinforces the idea that the tech industry fosters a workplace that caters to single males. By choosing to cover egg-freezing procedures without accompanied paid maternal and family leave and greater work flexibility, Facebook and Apple are encouraging business policies that delay but do not solve the problem of work-family balance.
Females in technology already face several obstacles in the workplace. Women represent 17 percent of software engineers, they get paid less than their male counterparts and many technology companies demand long hours from their employees. In an industry where career growth happens early on and young talent is especially valued, it makes sense that Facebook and Apple would move to provide egg-freezing benefits to its employees. They’re ensuring a way to even the playing field and to allow women to gain higher positions that might otherwise have been limited to them had they taken maternity leave. Yet the problem, which seems glaringly obvious, is that women should not have to be penalized for having children in their 20s or 30s. Facebook and Apple are inherently encouraging a single mindset for ambitious young women in the technology field: Work your way up the career ladder now, have children later. Now, women who choose to have children earlier in their careers have to compete with women who choose to freeze their eggs and male coworkers who don’t have to take maternity leave. Invariably, this will create a work environment with a greater pressure to conform to these company ideals.
Currently, the conversation about egg-freezing is centered around workplace policies that cover the costs until a woman decides that she’s going to have children. Regardless of whether she’s in her 20s, 30s, 40s or later, Facebook and Apple conveniently left out what happens after someone decides to have children. What about paid maternity leave? Paid family care for employees? Flexible hours? These companies missed a prime opportunity to truly revolutionize the workplace for females who choose to have children, not only for the technology industry, but for American workplaces in general. Egg-freezing is just one piece of a larger solution to encourage diversity and work-family balance, and as such, cannot act as a substitute.
Twenty thousand dollars per employee is a drop in the bucket for companies such as Facebook and Apple, especially so because of their relatively small number of female employees and the persistent gender wage gap. Ultimately, these companies’ goals when it comes to reproductive benefits coverage should be to empower women to make choices like whether to have children earlier, later or not at all, without having to worry about career repercussions. This comes from providing paid maternity leave, paid childcare services and more flexible work hours. As a young woman in technology, I look forward to working in an industry that not only recognizes the need for gender diversity and inclusion, but also takes thoughtful steps to ensure an environment where I feel empowered to lead a successful career and family at any stage of life.
Graphic by Padya Paramita ’17
Ms. Paramita: Thank you for your comments. May I respond with resect but deep and general disagreement. A business is a private entity. People have invested in and own the property of that business. A core American value is that we protect the private property of its citizens. There is no moral obligation on the part of that business to give any employee anything but a salary in exchange for good valuable work. If the employee does not like the way the business is run or the values of his or her employer, she or he is free to move along to another job. I own a business. My dear employees are not my dependents. They are not my children. They are strong mature Americans. They are free to use that money to do whatever they want with it, from wasting it at a gambling casino to saving it for freezing their eggs. I have no responsibility for their gambling debts or the costs of their frozen gametes. And what you say about women in the workforce is generally untrue and steeped in the leftist value system you obviously have learned at home and school. There is not one thing the matter that 17% of women might be engineers. They are free in this country to be an engineer or not. Men and women are very different. In general, not always of course, women do not aspire and never will to be engineers. Its just the facts of life. Its not business of yours or government to come in and steal a position in a business and say this position is reserved for a human with two X chromosomes and ovaries inside her pelvis. And to say that women earn less than men for the same work is an utter untruth propagated by the victimology of Leftism. In fact if it were true and women did earn 25% less than men for the same job, I’d be foolish not to fire all my men and save 25% on my high labor costs. ………………….. Take a listen to some of the Prager University 5 minute “courses” I recommend to young people. You may stay committed to your Leftist ideas and values, but at least, and likely for the first time you’ll hear what you are rejecting. Take care: Howard Sachs………….SORRY ITS SO LONG: Its a combination of 2 notes!………………………..*********************************
From: Howard Sachs: citizen, parent, and American
Open Your Minds…Step Outside the Intellectual Bubble of College
I’m a citizen and parent. I’m very concerned what students are learning at college now is in general (not all obviously) very destructive. American ideas and values have been replaced with leftist ones. Instead of learning about the greatness of liberty, you learn about the greatness of power concentrated in the state and how the property we own belongs to the enlightened ones on Washington. Instead of learning about unity and us as one American culture and people, you learn division- how we are rich, poor, black, white , gay and straight Americans. Instead of learning about the beauty of our Constitution and the greatness of America, you don’t even read the Constitution and instead learn the lies and propaganda about how we are a racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic people. Instead of learning wisdom, you learn foolishness- that men and women are the same, that highly debatable computer models tell us the world is coming to an end, that capitalism is bad, and the tyrannical nature of socialism is good.
Whatever your interest, politics, religion, economics, history; whatever side you currently are on, left, right, or independent; take some 5 minutes and hear some great American ideas and values at Prager University. Don’t leave college and spend so much money and walk out simply a narrow minded uneducated supporter for the values of leftism. Here are a couple Prager “courses” to check out to get a flavor. Pass the web site along. I have no connection with PU. I just know its one of the best responses to the rigid, narrow , leftist views of most of our colleges.
You may stay holding leftist values. At least become educated and know what you are rejecting. These are great ideas I’m sure most of you have never heard on campus (see below). Take care: Howard Sachs/Washington DC
The immorality of the progressive income tax
Big Government and small citizen
The American Trinity