Facebook And Apple Will Now Pay For You To Freeze Your Eggs, Score One For Our Ovaries
For women with demanding careers, deciding when to have children can be complicated. Like it or not, when women have children it nearly always means taking time (sometimes a significant amount of time) away from their careers. For young women who are devoted to their jobs, it can feel like they are making a choice between having children and having a career, instead of having children in addition to their career. But with some new health benefits, Facebook and Apple are buying their employees some time and getting a strong high-five from me.
An NBC News article published today says that Facebook has just started covering the costs of egg-freezing for their employees, and Apple will start that coverage in January. In the high-powered tech field where jobs can be extremely time-consuming, this gives their female employees more options when it comes to starting a family. These companies also cover the cost of fertility treatments, and Facebook gives their employees $4000 in “baby cash” to spend however they want. First of all, that’s amazing, and second, I would use my baby cash to buy all of the sleep.
It shows how alien it is for American women to have an employer treat having children as an important event that deserves their support. Seeing an employer offer these outstanding benefits to women makes us feel like the wallflower who gets asked to dance by the homecoming king. “What…me? Really? You couldn’t possibly want to help me stay employed at a high level after having kids…could you? Oh my gosh I’m blushing.”
But as awesome as this is for Facebook and Apple employees, it reminds us of how little choice there is for women who don’t work for these elite companies. Like, almost every other woman in the United States. As Amanda Hess says in her article on Slate, maybe Facebook and Apple’s women-friendly investments will be the start of a revolution, or not:
Perhaps Facebook and Apple’s internal policy shift signals future progress for American women working at less prestigious jobs. Or perhaps it will remain as yet another example of how full reproductive choices are out of reach for most women.
When you’re working retail at JC Penney, the only “baby cash” you’re getting is that Target gift card your co-workers give you at your baby shower. If you have to miss work at your mid-level job for doctor’s appointments, you best be ready for a written warning criticizing your unreliability.
But I see companies covering egg-freezing as a reason for hope. There are some cynics out there who argue that what this does is encourage women to put their career before family, leaving the company better off. I call shenanigans. There is nothing bad about having options. Silicon Valley or not, many women would not consider egg-freezing to be a possibility for them for them without this coverage. Having the choice gives these women more power over their lives and careers than ever before, and to that I think we can all say, “Finally.”
(Photo: RPM.photo / Shutterstock)