An Egg Please, Frozen
Apple and Facebook offering their employees a chance to have their eggs frozen is met with, err, backlash. You know, as if the offer is a glorified quest to hold the women hostage through their fertile years. It isn’t. It’s worth noting it wasn’t that long ago when women didn’t have careers at all. The status quo was that once you had a baby, you became a stay at home mum. The society is still coping to the change, and yes, sure – it’d be perfect if the transitions were seamless, but they’re not. Not all new steps are anti-women. Approaching them as if they were is just as useless as doing nothing at all. Harriet Minter writes in the Guardian: “By telling their female staff to hold off on having babies, these companies are demanding their employees put them before everything else, before their families, before their health.” That’s a bit dramatic. Of course an arrangement like this will benefit the companies. A corporation will always look after their own wellbeing. But, Apple and Facebook are well aware their staff is their best asset. Rather than replacing all the souls lost to baby making, they want to ensure creating new life isn’t a career suicide. Extended maternity leave, child benefits and workplace nurseries all help; definitely if you have a comfortable Monday to Friday gig. The reality of a top-level position is anything but comfortable. It’s never-ending hours, difficult decisions and constant pressure. Frankly, not everyone aspires to that anyway. Putting in 80 hours a week in the office doesn’t leave much time to be a parent, not a mother nor a father. It isn’t just women that have to compromise – men do, too. Their family lives also take a toll, just they don’t have to give birth.
Giving birth is only the beginning of having a child. From teething to first steps and from play dates to their first crush, parents have to be present. Just, society says it’s kind of OK if the father isn’t because someone has to earn the money. Somehow it’s less acceptable for a woman. That’s an issue – taking away choices. The option to freeze eggs on the other hand is giving more choices for women to make. We find it quite empowering. It gives the chance to go all in with your career and have a child when you’re ready for it, without compromising either of those goals. There’s nothing wrong in being a stay at home mum, nor is there anything wrong in not having children at all. Just as well there is no harm in doing things in your own time – if working your way to the top and then starting a family is your decision, so be it. The women presented with this option are intelligent. The procedure isn’t as simple as popping your moisturiser to the fridge to keep it fresh. There’s no guarantee it will work, either, but these women know what they are getting into. It’s their choice. The real anti-women stance is telling them it’s not OK to make that choice. Ph by Nick Knight for Vogue.