Frozen eggs really the answer to diversity?

frozen dollIt appears that corporate giants Apple and Facebook are now offering to pay for women to have their eggs frozen so that they can delay having children, giving them a chance to advance further up the career ladder before reproduction interferes.

I appreciate the issues of when, how and whether a couple can have children are complex. I’m also not qualified to know what the success of such an intervention might be – though I’m not concerned about using medicine and technology to alter the odds. It’s the overlap between employer expectation and individual freedom that seems worth challenging. We, that’s society, that’s us, should be asking if this is really the best way to encourage women to stick with a career and industry.

Encouraging diversity isn’t meant to entail encouraging women to be more like men because their reproduction window has been extended. Diversity is about embracing differences; extending opportunities for corporate growth; overcoming social, cultural and gender inequality; and being mindful of finite natural resources. A solution that tries to intervene at gender/age is bonkers. Suggesting that women can have jam (babies?) tomorrow in return for advancement on the greasy bread of corporate life today isn’t a solution at all. Women and men are different – particularly when it comes to reproduction (duh! as Bart Simpson might say) and, I would suggest, it is these real, or potential, different life experiences which enrich us all.

Employees of a corporation work for that corporation. They are paid to do a task in order to create a profit which ultimately benefits the shareholders of the company. That’s the deal. It is good business for companies to encourage employees to be healthy in body and mind. An expensive gender specific intervention, however, may create additional obstacles to employing women.

People come in different shapes and sizes – and we are all subject to the laws of gravity and nature. It would be better for people, companies and nature if we could find a way to embrace the range of humanity, not try to subvert it.