Facebook, Apple pay for female employees to freeze eggs: what does this say to women?
My jaw hit the ground when I read a recent article on NBCnews.com by Danielle Friedman titled, “Perk Up: Facebook and Apple Now Pay for Women to Freeze Eggs.” But then I quickly shook off my surprise, remembering that we live in a culture that disregards and disrespects fertility, family values, and real femininity at every turn.
‘Having a high-powered career and children is still a very hard thing to do,’ said Brigitte Adams, an egg-freezing advocate and founder of the patient forum Eggsurance.com. By offering this benefit, companies are investing in women, she said, and supporting them in carving out the lives they want.’
My quesiton is: Are these companies really “investing in women” and “supporting them in carving out the lives they want”? Or is this just another tactic to turn women into something different and make them feel like their fertility is a curse to their success?
We have heard this since the invention of the Pill. The Pill promised women the freedom to delay their pregnancies so that they can climb the career ladder. However, what so-called “feminists” failed to recognize is that the Pill does not allow women to advance as women. It forces them to become like men in order to achieve advancement.
Indeed, as Friedman states in the NBC article: “Egg freezing has even been described as a key to ‘leveling the playing field’ between men and women: Without the crushing pressure of a ticking biological clock, women have more freedom in making life choices, say advocates.”
This new notion of companies paying for and promoting egg freezing is just another way of saying to women that instead of having children during the natural time when they are most fertile, and the time when their own bodies biologically crave a family, they should delay it for a job. It suggests that women should view their natural ability to create life as something that is “crushing” their real dreams of having a successful career.
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And, once again, this sends the message to women that you have to become even more like men to succeed. Whereas men are fertile late into their lives, women are fertile for a limited time in their life. Now we are telling women that they have to be willing to create life through extraordinary means like in vitro fertilization in order to be like men, who can postpone having children as long as they want.
St. John Paul II wrote in The Genius of Women, “As most women themselves point out, equality of dignity does not mean ‘sameness with men.’ This would only impoverish women and all of society, by deforming or losing the unique richness and inherent value of femininity.”
He also states, “The growing presence of women in social, economic, and political life at the local, national, and international levels is thus a positive development. Women have a full right to become actively involved in all areas of public life, and this right must be affirmed and guaranteed, also where necessary, through appropriate legislation. This acknowledgement of the public role of women should not, however, detract from their unique role within the family.”
Women offer the world a tremendous amount of gifts, talents, compassion, intellect and insight. However, we shouldn’t have to be stripped of what is natural - our ability to have and bear life during the time our bodies have set aside to do it and in the way that God intended, through an intimate sexual encounter between husband and wife. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice this in order to succeed in a career. They should be able to go hand in hand.
Friedman goes on to explain: “The companies offer egg-freezing coverage under slightly different terms: Apple covers costs under its fertility benefit, and Facebook under its surrogacy benefit, both up to $20,000.”
A company willing to pay for a woman to freeze her eggs might as well tell female employees that:
1) Children aren’t welcome here.
2) Don’t plan on advancing unless you plan on delaying.
3) You cannot have children if you are going to work here.
TheOnion.com wrote a parody to the news of Facebook and Apple paying for egg freezing, titled: “Report Finds More Americans Putting Off Children Until Companies Are Ready.”
Facebook and Apple can mask this offer to women with all the well-intentioned words they want, but the fact of the matter is this is just another way to strip women down and make them become something that looks like a woman, but is missing a key element, in order to advance in society. It's just another way, as the title above suggests, for companies to dictate “proper” family planning instead of people.
Friedman also writes: “Companies may be concerned about the public relations implications of the benefit – in the most cynical light, egg-freezing coverage could be viewed as a ploy to entice women to sell their souls to their employer, sacrificing childbearing years for the promise of promotion.”
I would like to see and even challenge the powerful and inventive software and computer company Apple and the creative social media site Facebook to use their money and mind-power to fight for women’s true dignity. They should help society find a way to allow women to advance in their careers as the fertile, child-bearing human beings they are created to be, instead of promoting the idea that women have to change or delay what should be rightfully theirs to do even as they make their career contribute to society.
If they did that, then we could see these companies actually “investing in women” and “supporting them in carving out the lives they want.”
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