Diversity and the Egg

I wasn’t going to say anything. I start way too many blogs with that line. Anyway, this time I really wasn’t. I had a lovely little tidbit planned about Mindy Kaling, actress and creator of “The Mindy Project”, a show I’ve never seen but admire in principal.

But I finally figured out what it is about this whole Apple and Facebook egg freezing thing that was tripping me up. At first, I was cloudy; struck numb might be a better description. It was like seeing your 18th car accident, or dispassionately watching that counter that runs across the highway slowly creep up as it counts the deaths for the year.

There was something wrong with it. Something really wrong. I had no desire to go past the headline, no real curiosity about the details of the program, its motivation, projected results or who was eligible. There was no outrage, no eye rolling, no “I insist on getting on my soap box because somebody’s got to point the finger!” There was none of that. I didn’t really care.

Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it. People commented on it after I posted the article link online. Others shared my weirdness about the news, my passive aggressive disapproval. Their comments barely registered. I’d slipped into some sort of topical fugue, and related information was bouncing off me like arrows off rubber.

But then it hit me.

Yes, it’s great that now science has advanced to the point where the process of freezing eggs and using them later to conceive is increasingly successful. That wasn’t what was bothering me. It wasn’t even the audacity that these two big companies would pat themselves on the back for helping women to delay an important life choice.

It was my own question — is this really the answer?

Is delaying natural body functions and potentially undergoing unnecessary surgical procedures, is that really a viable recruiting tool for Silicon Valley, or it just sheer bloody nerve? Is it just another silly, side track way to avoid doing what’s simple and uncomfortable and dare I say it, right by all of your employees, not just women?

Yes, as one article I read said: “The period during which women approach declining fertility is seen as prime work years for women hoping to advance in their careers, and many professional women consider the process a means of hitting pause on their desire to have a family.” But isn’t that like giving someone an aspirin after they’ve stared a computer all day and now have a migraine?

Instead of suggesting when and how women might have children, what if we made workplace childcare a priority? How about flexible work schedules? What if we internalized that work and life are intrinsically bound? That changes in the world of work, the speed of business, the competition in the global marketplace demand truly authentic work cultures that embrace flexibility as long as the performance and deliverables are there?

It’s just an idea. It certainly doesn’t make for as interesting a headline as Facebook and Apple are gonna help me go under the knife so I can work for them.