Image by Barbara Kruger
Have you ever felt that there could be some other way that businesses could step up to the modern challenges of ensuring diversity in the workplace? Organisations taking the lead and looking at real opportunities to ensure that high-performing female employees can continue to thrive in a corporate landscape whilst also choosing to have children?
Facebook and Apple have apparently recently introduced their own solutions to hold on to their best workers, with latest news reports on the interwebs reporting that they are offering to pay up to $20,000 for female employees to freeze their reproductive eggs.
Hold up a second.
So, it’s BIOLOGY that needs to drastically tampered to solve this issue of workplace equality? Oh of course! Why didn’t I think of that? It’s our bodies that have been doing it wrong all these years! It really was just staring us in the face this whole time. Women clearly haven’t been pulling our weight in the evolution department, and so the solution to ensuring we can work longer and better is to step in and meddle with our bits.
WHY are we doing this? Are we so far removed from reality that this is actually a viable option? According to Jennifer Tye, marketing lead for Glow, a mobile application aimed at helping women avoid pregnancy or conceive, it most certainly is.
“Egg freezing gives women more control,” Tye stated.
“When I turned 30, I had this notion that my biological clock was ticking, but I didn’t know what my options were.
“These employers should be commended.”
Can I just say firstly that we have no issue with women choosing to freeze their eggs, but we really have an issue with companies incentivizing it rather than taking a good hard look at why they make women with children such pariahs. Secondly, I don’t believe for a second this is giving women more control, it’s doing the opposite. The employer is telling the woman that her biological makeup needs to change, not the business structure. REAL empowering Jennifer.
So we made a list of ways industry could solve this issue WITHOUT resorting to surgery:
1. On-site child care centres. DUH
2. HIre the correct number of people for the actual amount of work
3. In busy times, give people the option to work late, or start earlier, and pay the MONEY for those hours. Keep child care support on hand at that time so that the option can be taken up by parents. Creating a culture of expected unpaid overtime is at the root of this issue.
4. Stop seeing having children as a woman’s sole responsibility, but respect her if she chooses to stay at home forever. It is no different to her going on a holiday to Italy, and loving it so much that she wants to quit her job and move there.
5. Offer REAL up-skilling or training as needed for any employee who takes up leave to care for their children. If there is a knowledge gap after having 4 months off, address it. Equip them with the skills they need to do the job well, without having to fall into the overtime trap.
6. Stop comparing the capabilities of female employees who have/don’t have children. Neither of you are better at your job for having/not having children. We don’t question whether men who have children do their jobs better or worse, they just have them.
7. Focus on making real cultural change in the workplace. Invest money into this, not egg freezing.
Please add to this list as you see fit. Humans are continuing to make this life way harder than it should be, creating more obstacles than a steeplechase in the big world of business.
By going down this path businesses are literally trying to own their employees, body and soul. Viable solutions are out there, so why are we offering these instead?