“This is not the path to positive progress” said Maggie O’Carroll CEO of The Women’s Organisation in response to reports that Facebook and Apple are offering to support female employees to freeze their eggs in order to attract more women.
It has been suggested that the perks offered by Apple and Facebook could be seen as an attempt to rectify the gender imbalance. Apple said in its diversity report this year that its workforce was 70% male, while Facebook reported its workforce was 69% male.
It is often suggested that the gender pay gap and ‘glass ceiling’ women encounter when trying to progress their careers can be attributed to the idea that women are more likely to take time out to start a family. In response Facebook now apparently offers up to $20,000 (£13,000) for egg freezing for female employees.
Maggie O’Carroll challenged this idea saying “Instead of this bizarre proposal it would surely be better for the likes of Facebook and Apple to provide proper family leave, flexible working patterns rather than this offer, which is frankly rather offensive! Supporting families is the key to fairness in the workplace, not messing with women’s biological clocks.”
The Women’s Organisation themselves have supported staff to manage their working patterns offering flexible working to those trying to juggle a number of commitments. Their tailored programmes for women to start out in business are also focussed on the key challenges that effect women trying to pursue business while managing family responsibilities.
Gender bias is rife in the workplace with women in the Northwest of England recently being reported to be earning as much as 17.6% less than their male counterparts, and women still vastly underrepresented in business.
The Women’s Organisation would challenge business owners world over to think more carefully about their policies relating to growing families and ensure that real solutions are on offer.
Speaking to Sky News at the weekend Maggie explained that she is not against women making the choice to freeze eggs, simply companies using this as a way to shy away from supporting flexible working practices for families.