For John, BLUF: What DO women want? No one knows? Nothing to see here; just move along.
Over at the Althouse blog we have comments on an article titled "Egg Freezing as a Work Benefit? Some Women See Darker Message." The Reporter is Ms Claire Cain Miller, of The New York Times.
Professor Althouse leads off:
I hadn't quite yet gotten around to blogging about this new work benefit, which we've just heard is getting under way at Apple and Facebook, and already "some women" have not only detected a "darker message," they've gotten their message out to the general public. "Some women" are always getting the jump on me. I had my perceptions — not dark, but optimistic — and I voiced them, within the confines of this house, and I can't believe that even as I blog so consistently and so earnestly and I'm ever-ready to catch new issues like this and put my opinions instantly right out there on the internet, that "some women" beat me to the punch... if one is allowed to use that expression in this woman-friendly world anymore.Reporter Miller writes and Professor Althouse quotes:
For women whose circumstances have made it unrealistic to have a baby and who are considering egg freezing, the new benefit is likely to be a highly welcome surprise — even if in some sense it may seem a logical extension of employee-sponsored health plans that already cover pregnancy, childbirth and some infertility treatments.Here is the nut of the problem as laid out by Reporter Miller:
Yet workplaces could be seen as paying women to put off childbearing.
Yet by paying for women to delay pregnancy, are employers helping them achieve that balance — or avoiding policies that experts agree would greatly help solve the problem, like paid family leave, child care and flexible work arrangements?Professor Althouse asks:
“Egg freezing seems to put a Band-Aid on the problem of how difficult it is for women to have a career and raise a family concurrently,” Seema Mohapatra, a health care law and bioethics expert, wrote in August in a Harvard Law & Policy Review article titled “Using Egg Freezing to Extend the Biological Clock: Fertility Insurance or False Hope?”
Isn't that what the required coverage of birth control also does? Or is the coverage of birth control not really an incentive to put off childbearing, but a trick to ease women unwittingly into a life of childlessness? I hadn't thought so. And if women need to use the young part of their lives to get educated and to advance their careers without sidetracks and distractions, then egg-freezing is exactly the benefit that supports workplace equality.We need some consistence here. What do women want?
Women who choose to have babies earlier could be stigmatized as uncommitted to their careers. Just as tech company benefits like free food and dry cleaning serve to keep employees at the office longer, so could egg freezing, by delaying maternity leave and child-care responsibilities.
But this stigma is already there to the extent that it is, and birth control (not to mention abortion) empowers women to show their commitment to their career by putting off pregnancy.
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Regards — Cliff