News about two of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, Apple and Facebook, announcing a programme to provide funding that will help female employees freeze their eggs has been met with mixed reactions.
According NBC News, Facebook began funding some of its employees for the expensive medical process back in January this year, while Apple will begin its funding programme in January 2015.
Egg freezing will give the businesswomen a chance to focus their energy on their careers without having to sacrifice the ability to have a baby later on, according to Apple and Facebook.
The downside to egg freezing is that it isn’t a guarantee that a woman will be able to bare children when she decides to have them, but experts do say that the earlier a women freezes her eggs, the better the chances of the procedure being successful.
“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cyropreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.
A lot of comment on this has been positive, applauding the companies for giving women the choice to stay on top of their game in the male-dominated industry without them having to worry about losing their jobs, missing out on opportunities for promotion and being a mother.
“Given Silicon Valley’s noted lack of women in power positions, offering employees money for this costly procedure — it’s $10,000 for every round of frozen eggs and an additional $500 annually for storage — could help lure top female talent,” writes Aaron Taube in Business Insider.
“I imagine most working women would exercise this option in a heartbeat because of the huge financial and personal cost of continuing to hustle, crush it, and shut up in their careers while biologically constrained. This subsidizes the cost of choosing when to prioritize having children,” Nitasha Tiku in Valley Wag.
But some don’t think it sends out such a good message to women in the tech industry:
“If women want this, I think it’s great that the companies are offering it. The worry is that it could be accompanied by a message that it’s not a responsible time to get pregnant,” said Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. “And when you do [get pregnant], you obviously are making a choice that signals you’re not serious about your career.”
“If this is gesture is meant to be supportive of work-life balance and people to be present for their families, it’s an odd one,” explained Alison M Konrad, an executive at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business school. “What’s odd to me is we’re offering this ability to postpone the event of having children, as opposed to the ability to be present for children.”
“Yet by paying for women to delay pregnancy, are employers helping them achieve that balance — or avoiding policies that experts agree would greatly help solve the problem, like paid family leave, child care and flexible work arrangements?” writes Claire Cain Miller in the New York Times.
Whether this really is an opportunity to help women be their best in their prime working years, or a way for Apple and Facebook to keep women from considering motherhood at a younger age, it’s essentially up to these female employees to decide how they will balance out a career and being a mom in the long run.[Source – NBC News, Image – Shutterstock]