You've got to hand it to Apple and Facebook. The Silicon giants made their latest corporate perk (an egg-freezing option) look, at least superficially, like the most feminist-friendly gesture—when I would argue that it's anything but.
From a PR perspective, these tech firms will come out on top, seeming progressive for encouraging female employees not to rule out babies. But what they are really saying is, Don't feel pressured to start a family just yet. There is no hurry! Don't let having babies stand in the way of your career!
On the face of it, Facebook and Co. are simply meeting a practical demand, but personally I'm not feeling it.
Instead of encouraging women to defer starting a family, wouldn't they be better off improving maternity benefits (hello, Marissa Mayer) and the elusive work-life "balance" that feels for many moms like trying to contort yourself into the most impossible yoga pose?
Just because women can put off having babies until later in life doesn't necessarily follow that they should. And freezing your eggs isn't always (forgive the pun) all it's cracked up to be. IVF comes with its own set of issues, and there is no guarantee of a baby at the end of it. The higher a woman climbs the corporate ladder, the harder it will be for her to come down.
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg herself so eloquently put it: "... human reproduction is humanity's last, biological stand against the corporate demand for workers' continuous labor." The last frontier, indeed.
So please forgive me for not cheering from the stands over the egg-freezing news. Money may help women—once they're good and ready—to have babies. But all the money in the world can't buy you back time with your kids if you go back to the office and hardly see them.
You tell me: is the egg-freezing scheme a curse or a godsend for professional women?