I laughed out loud when I first read about Facebook and Apple’s plans to cover the cost of freezing eggs for women employees.
What a surreal attempt at gender equity within a sector that has dismal employee diversity.
The calculation seems to be: Women don’t stick around to develop their careers because they want to raise kids; let’s give them the hope that they can have kids later and focus on work while they’re young.
In other words: don’t change the workplace; change the women.
It’s the latest in a wave of corporate-sponsored “feminism” that asks women to “Lean In” as if an individualistic self-help formula will somehow overcome the structures and practices of exploitation. In the words of Vanessa Garcia, what “sounds good on the surface” is really asking “women to lean into a corporate culture created by men.”
In this formula, families are in competition with the corporate bottom line. But what if, instead, the workplace was re-shaped to honor the role of families in everyone’s lives, to value care and caregiving?
Ironically, the Facebook/Apple story has been in the news during New Economy Week, what the New Economy Coalition calls “an opportunity to explore what it would take to build the economy we need, one that works for people, place, and planet.”
An economy that works will allow us all to put care and caregiving — the most joyful and important part of human experience – at the center of our lives.
“Those who have suffered the most at the hands of an unfair economy are also the most experienced at imagining and building alternative futures,” proclaims Yes! Magazine in honoring New Economy Week.
I invite all of us, including the women at Apple and Facebook, to imagine and build an economy of human connection and interdependence.