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No Youth Movement

October 15, 2014

I’m sure plenty of my loyal readers would assume that I’d have an opinion on an HR move by tech companies.  And this is definitely more Lynn’s territory, but she’s been crazy at work… she still like y’all.

So anyway, here’s a new health benefit courtesy of the more “forward-thinking” technology groups.

According to a report from NBC News, both Facebook and Apple have begun offering human egg freezing as part of their employee benefits package. The plans would allow employees to have their eggs put on ice and used for conception at a later date.

Apple said the benefit was part of a family medical benefits package it offers workers.

“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,” the iGiant said in a statement to The Register.

So first: It’s an interesting idea, and it will likely serve to attract females, especially the ambitious types.  Why not have a hedge to balancing career and family?  I’m sure more companies will start to offer it, especially as it becomes a more standard medical practice.  Note also the extended maternity leave.  Tech is leading the way in becoming more friendly to women.  It’s still not getting a lot more women in tech, but they’re trying.

Second: I’m interested about how charges are handled.  There’s got to be some form of storage fee.  How does that work once the woman leaves the company and goes elsewhere?  Likely it just falls back to the family.  That’s more a tactical question, but it makes me wonder if some potential families might view this as a different form of golden handcuffs.  Since I commented yesterday that uninformed opinion is dumb, I won’t speculate much beyond that.

But third: Wow, this is pretty cynical.  In some way, this backs up a couple of the worst parts of tech, especially tech in the Bay.  There’s an undercurrent in the tech industry that women can’t get ahead if they plan on having kids.  So this is just a way that some jerks of managers (both male and female, I’d note) can put pressure on women not to have kids.  Hey, you can have them later, if you want that promotion you should think about concentrating more on work (wink, wink)…  It also puts pressure on women to embrace an uncertain future in exchange for a promise today.  Freezing eggs doesn’t guarantee pregnancy later, it just increases the odds.

Most interesting to me: This continues the youth movement trend in technology that I know is being noticed by more of us in the gray-hair period of our career.  If you believe the implication that only women without kids can get ahead (and I don’t), and if you believe that the choice to finally have a child pushes the woman to stagnate the career (and I don’t), this essentially is saying that women should get ahead and get their money early in their lives, and then reap that reward by scaling back and having kids when they’re too old to be productive.  What ever happened to feeling that the most productive part of the career was late 40’s?  Not in tech, that’s apparently the time to think about pulling the kids out of the freezer and becoming part of the PTA.  Okay, the contrast is up on that statement, but you get what I’m saying.

So… good for tech in that it’s trying to get women more involved.  Not so good for reinforcing the stereotypes that work and family don’t get along.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2014 8:05 am

    Eee

    Also not so good in that it’s kind of creepy-dystopian-future?

    • October 15, 2014 8:20 am

      The creepy dystopian future hit years ago. I just keep moving a block further into the woods and buying another defense mechanism.

      I’m of the belief that technology is emotionless, and it’s the use of it that brings out lust and fear.

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