herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Companies are turning pregnancy into an act of corporate betrayal

Freezing your female employee's eggs? And they call this progress? It's grotesque.

But that's exactly what Apple and Facebook have offered to do for the women who work for them in what they call a "benefit".

In creepy Orwellian language, a press release from Apple said: "We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families."

Eh, let me just put that through my personal Enigma machine and see what comes out: "We want to guilt trip women at Apple to do the best work of their lives during the best years of their lives and postpone having children until we're done with them".

Memo to Tim: If you actually wanted your female employees to care for loved ones and raise families, they have to create them in the first place.

By offering to finance egg-freezing for non-medical purposes, you're not empowering women to do anything.

robbed

Instead, you've turned pregnancy into an act of corporate betrayal. The insistence that a career requires total commitment robbed women first of their twenties - their prime child-bearing years - and then, their thirties.

But women discovered that 39 and a half is cutting it too fine to start a family and IVF turned out to be a bum deal. So now they've come for our forties. Post-menopausal pregnancy has received the corporate imprimatur. Dear God, it's come to this.

Before, pregnancy was inconvenient. Now it'll be simply irresponsible. Where's it going to end? Make babies on your retirement? Sure if men can have babies in their seventies, why not women?

But we shouldn't be surprised should we? It's the perfectly logical outcome of the failure of feminism. Nothing ever really changed in many cultures.

In a lot of companies, women who made it to the top did so by pretending they didn't actually have any children.

Promotion is all too often about drinking the Kool Aid, presenteeism and the golf. [The golf never really went away.]

If feminism had a real impact on the workplace, the private sector would universally recognise that grown ups have families, and both men and women have personal responsibilities that quite legitimately take them away from the office on a regular basis.

Instead, the masculine foundations of the business world were bedded down.

families

Taking care of families is frequently seen as something best done in one's limited spare time. So many women had a choice: spend a fortune paying poorer women to rear your children or sit back on the Mommy Track. Some of us simply walked away rather than play this ridiculous game.

Men carried on regardless, and honestly, I feel sorry for them. Most enjoy the status. Some can't live without it. And of course, someone's got to earn the money.

But I know a lot of men who hate being corporate slaves, but they've got to stick with it because they've no choice. At least we women have an excuse to drop out of all the nonsense. Without children, what would we tell the cult leaders who think that jobs must consume our entire lives?

Still, at least it's official: reproduction and a corporate career make uncomfortable bedfellows, so much so that the company will pay for you to postpone having children. But I'll make a prediction. Hardly anyone takes up the offer.

You know what Facebook and Apple could do? Announce that a five-year gap on a CV, from either men or women who chose to take some time out to rear their children, would not be interpreted as failure in their high-falutin' recruitment procedures.

Instead it would be recognised for what it is: a sensible move from a well adjusted person who had their priorities straight and is ready to get back in their groove.

That won't happen of course.

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