herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Intel becomes the latest tech giant to consider paying for egg freezing

The Intel site
The Intel site

Technology giant Intel is the latest multinational considering paying for egg-freezing as a perk for female employees.

One of the company’s newest vice-presidents, Margaret Burgraff, from Cork, confirmed the subject is under discussion.

“The head of HR has already had the conversation with me about the philosophy of it. I personally find it too intrusive. I don’t want my workplace involved in my fertility,” she said.

Ms Burgraff added that any employee benefit programmes has to be inclusive of men and women.

“Men have fertility issues too, and that’s not dragged into the workplace,” she said.

“Fertility treatment? Personally, I don’t want to be having conversations with my management about that,” said the mum of two boys, who is based in Los Gatos in California’s Silicon Valley.

Apple and Facebook are already among the major employers in the technology sector to help pay for female employees to freeze their eggs.

Last year, RTE star Kathryn Thomas called on Irish employers to join international tech giants in adopting this policy.

Ms Burgraff was appointed as vice president of Intel’s mobile and communications group in May last year. She graduated with a degree in computer science and economics from University College in Cork.

She is actively supporting the hiring and retention of more women in the company.

“Unfortunately, women have been under-represented in technology, and a lot of times you feel very isolated when you’re the only woman in a staff group,” she said.

“Women have to prove that we have a right to a seat at the table, over and over again, and eventually it’s very off-putting. Technically, males just don’t have to go through the same scrutiny,” she pointed out.

interruptions

“There are interruptions when a woman is speaking – it’s much easier to speak over her. I’ve seen this multiple times.

“Or you find a man getting credit for an idea a woman had, just because he repeated it, or because

the manager in the room hears it because it’s from a man’s voice. I have experienced this myself.

“We’re on a fast treadmill working in technology, and it’s getting faster and faster, and keeping up on that treadmill is difficult. Women need to grasp the mindset needed,” she said.

She credits her mother with inspiring a strong work ethic in her.

“Working hard is not an issue. Lots of times, I haven’t been the smartest or most attractive person in the room, but I knew I could work harder than anyone in the room, and that’s a powerful tool,” she told a Sunday newspaper.

She said that the more

diverse your staff is, the more diverse the mindset is that’s coming to the table with ideas.

The technology giant has designated 2015 as the year of “Women in Intel.”

It is pumping millions into a new hiring and retention strategy, the goal of which is to ensure that by 2020, the workforce fully reflects the racial and sexual make-up of the population.

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