Apple, Facebook and the Absurdity of an Egg Freezing Benefit


Let's see, women find it difficult to get ahead in their careers at our companies so what should we do?

A. Advise and pay for a woman to go through two medical procedures (freezing eggs and then using the eggs) to bear a child.

B. Make changes to our workplaces to make it possible for people at various life stages to fit in human activity such as childbearing and childrearing, caring for elderly parents, and other very human pursuits.

If you are Apple and Facebook, the answer is A. But I hope the rest of us can see that "freezing eggs" as the solution is also A for Absurd.

The egg-freezing strategy means that Apple and Facebook are also saying "It's up to each woman to plan her way through her work life. If she doesn't, then too bad, it's her fault." I have already taken to task individuals who advise women to freeze their eggs, not dreaming we would see companies offer to pay for it and then be praised for it. All of this implies women can simply plan and choose our way through today's worklife challenges -- marry the right guy, don't lean back, choose a family friendly career, have kids early, have kids late, freeze your eggs, just ask for flexibility -- and all of it actually prevents us from taking effective actions to change our workplaces and our public policies.

Add freezing eggs to the long list of absurd extremes companies will go to -- provide meals, deliver drycleaning, provide childcare on site, and so on -- to avoid having to question the flawed assumption that it is reasonable and humane to expect that each and every person will work 50 hours a week, 50+ weeks a year, for 50 years of his or her life. Individually these types of services probably provide real benefit to some employees, but in aggregate the message is that as a company -- and a society -- we will do whatever it takes so we don't have to change how we define the "ideal worker."

How about another option?

C. Take this egg-freezing job and shove it.