Facebook and Apple to Cover Egg Freezing: a Real Step Forward For Women?
Free, unlimited snacks, a reportedly awesome maternity leave policy … now Facebook and Apple are paying up to $20,000 for women employees to freeze their eggs. Since each round of egg freezing costs about $10,000, it’s no wonder this made headlines across our social media feeds.
Leave it to these Silicon Valley giants to completely one-up the federal government and its Affordable Care Act-mandated insurance coverage of birth control. With this company-sponsored initiative, female employees will now have more control over their fertility than ever.
Apple is reportedly adding the perk in January 2015, while it’s been part of Facebook’s insurance policy since early 2014. And looking at the majority of headlines, this benefit has largely been lauded as a progressive benefit for working women; we really can have it all — a career now and a family later.
Or can they?
Anne Weisberg, senior vice president of The Families and Work Institute, warns of the implications of this policy in a society where work is already prioritized above all else: “People will read a policy like this not as ‘we want to give people more options,’ but as ‘this is what we expect,’” she tells The Washington Post.
But the fact remains that women are waiting to have a family. In 2012, the average age of a woman expecting her first child was nearly 26, compared to 21 in 1970. So is this real progress, one that working women who want to start a family some day, just not today, will want to explore? Or, is this really a self-serving offer on the part of Silicon Valley — just another weapon in the so-called “perks arms race” to attract women to the workforce — and keep them there? Tell us what you think.