Hot Jobs and Frozen Eggs
By Natasha Mathur, Behavioral Neuroscience 2018
Being a woman in the workforce has never been easy. For years, women have been jumping hurdles trying to prove that they can be “one of the guys” in the workplace. Over the past 50 years, the number of women in the workplace has increased exponentially, along with the diversity of jobs held by women.
However, true equality has yet to be achieved. In an attempt to put in the same amount of commitment as their male counterparts, women in the workplace are foregoing certain things, most notably their family lives.
Often, working women feel like they either have to take advantage of their biological clock and have a family early, or ignore this intrinsic motivator and be perceived as “hard-headed careerists”.
In an effort to rise to the heights that males are able to climb to with little judgment, women feel as though they have to make a choice between family and work. And if they want both, they cannot give both 100%. So how does one make the choice?
In an incentive to give women the option to more easily make this choice, some companies, like Facebook and Citigroup, are offering the option for their female employees to freeze their eggs using their insurance policies.
For women who are concerned about having children and afraid that they will have few or no viable eggs left by the time they are ready to start a family, freezing eggs is a good, albeit expensive, choice. Arguably, these policies are helping both the companies and the women that work for them.
In 1970, the average age of a mother at the birth of her first child was around 23. That leaves a very brief window for women to enter the workforce after graduating from a university (assuming average matriculation age is 18 and a degree is obtained in four years).
A woman barely has time to set her foot in the door at a company and earn a permanent desk, before having to make the decision about whether she wants to work or have children. According to the CIA, in 2009 the average age of a mother at the birth of her first child was 25.4.
This number is slightly higher than the 1970 average, but still leaves women with few years to truly settle into their workplace. In more recent years, the average age of mothers at the birth of their first child is higher, and there is a higher prevalence of women having children at ages well past 30.
It is common knowledge that dedication and commitment are key factors in an office environment. A woman jumping in and out of the office on maternity leave and juggling children is not who most employers would look at for a promotion.
Now, women have a choice. Women have the option to choose to focus on their careers, and to reach a place in their field where they feel comfortable enough to leave and know that they will have an office to come back to.
And, because companies are putting it on the insurance policy, women don’t have to scrounge up ten to fifteen thousand dollars in order to protect their desires to be mothers.
This seems like a win-win, as companies will see a huge amount of women choosing to focus on their careers, and women will feel more secure in their choice. At this point, women are climbing up the ladder, and securing leadership roles in big companies.
Although the workplace has a long place to come before there are an equal number of male and female CEOs, this is a huge step in that direction.