With the time bound life rushing to do everything, there are so many days when I miss reading the newspaper on time. So I guess I missed out when some companies have announced the new "Fringe Benefit" option to their female employees for freezing their eggs so they can focus on their careers without any gap.
Are you joking!!Are these the same companies that are boasting on the gender equality and sensitivity? Really need to understand what is their current gender diversity number, how many women have left these organizations in the last 5 years, what is the cause for their exit from these organizations, and most important what is the organization doing to retain this talent.
If you are talking about gender diversity and how your organization is striving to retain it then you are like those politicians, who want to throw few schemes at backward classes just around the elections. I am yet to find an organization which doesn't boast about its gender diversity.In subtle tones these organizations are hinting their women employees to choose between career and kids. Most of the organizations generally offer two options, one open a day care / tie up with a day care, and the second is the glorified Work from Home option. I do not have much experience or details on how it works in other countries but in India, these are never sufficient.
If you try to board into a bus, generally you have the front seats reserved for handicapped. That is where the policy for supporting differently abled ends. In the peak hour traffic you see people jostling to get into the bus, and they may not be bothered much if the person they are shoving away is a handicap. Front door in south is typically for female entry / exit while backdoor is for male entry / exit. If god forbid the handicapped person is a male trying to get into the bus in peak time how is he going to push himself into the bus squeezing between the women, and how many may hurl abuses first hand before realizing he is a handicap.I have seen the organizations give the provisions, but is it working and how smoothly at the ground level? who is monitoring and clearing these problem areas. There are many types typically the work environment and culture with the demanding seniors or smirking team members who push the exit button for these female employees.
I remember one of the incident personally experienced by me. Similar to any IT company our company has an entry point, and also a baggage check area. The entry point has 3 high narrow steps without any railing to get in and then you need to put your laptop bag onto the scanner pick it from the other end and then step out to enter the premises. Trust me I have been using this facility for years without even giving a thought to these steps. You just sleep walk through this routine procedure. When I was pregnant, with my lower back pain I have started using a laptop stroller bag. Imagine a pregnant lady trying to maneuver these narrow steps and to carry / pick the heavy laptop, put it under a scanner and move onto enter into the premises. Has anyone experienced similar discomfort? How many have raised their voice, and how was it accommodated.In my case as I was in a Middle mgmt role, have raised this point to the logistics head formally. Thankfully they understood the problem area and standing instructions were given to the staff to ensure that pregnant women get to enter the gate directly without stepping into the security gate and the security staff will either do a manual check or themselves facilitate the bag scanning.
But when I sat back and thought about it, there have been many pregnant women who must have passed through those gates, I do not think I am the first one. So why have they have not raised their concern or, demanded for a relaxation of the rules. I don't know if they never did or their voice was never heard. But I was glad when the standing instructions were given by the logistics head to resolve the problem area for the differentlyabled.In the modern times the problem of infertility is on high. But the problem area doesn't exist in women alone. What about the male sperm count? It is also being published in many studies that it is either falling low in count, or in mortality due to the increased use of technology. Many a times it is the men who are looking for delaying the marriage and kids as they want to settle in their life first. Why are these companies not offering the same facility to the men?
One of my earlier organizations, was small 25-30 people company. Only one of the female employees was married and had a small kid. While weekdays is handled any extra time during weekends was a challenge for her as she had to bring the kid to the work. This being small organization we got the approvals for her immediately, and her kid would come into the office with his bag of books and toys. No one questioned when she was taking a 30 mins extra at lunch, or frequent short breaks as she had to take care of him in between. End of the day, all the deliverables are met. Was it more easy to address the problem area here because the organization size was small to immediately recognize and resolve the road blockers. She was never asked / pushed to the question of kid / career.On a personal note I do not think freezing as the benefit, as it comes with lot of taxation. The company should make their HR policies and management more attentive and understanding towards the problems of differentlyabled (temporary / permanent) without pushing the people to make that choice.
You can see the Miracle happening!!