April 22, 2023 | 10:44 p.m.
Women on Wall Street are encouraged and paid to freeze their eggs and delay childbearing.
Getty Images/RF Science Photo Library
Fertility coverage, aka “egg freezing,” has been hailed as the latest game-changing benefit for women to break through Wall Street’s super-thick glass ceiling.
With egg freezing, mom’s leave can be delayed until women have established solid careers, as evidenced by many successful women working in banking and commerce. Wall Street manages to retain a more diverse pool of talent that would otherwise migrate to the green pastures of technology, which began offering such benefits about a decade ago.
Win-win, right? It seems so, but recently a counter-narrative has started to emerge that freezing eggs isn’t such a great benefit after all. Rather, this narrative suggests it is a subtle form of corporate coercion on young women who may be worried about significant health risks or have religious objections. They feel compelled to freeze their eggs and delay pregnancy to demonstrate loyalty to their job and the organization in hopes of moving up the corporate ladder.
I’m not saying I attribute the truth to these sinister motives, but it’s something some young women working at major investment banks have discussed and lamented. Recently, through a banking source, I heard the story of a 26-year-old female executive at Morgan Stanley who thinks there is pressure on young women like her to freeze their eggs if they want to move forward.
As she described, the company will pay $1,200 for women to freeze their eggs for a year (not the best cover on the street for something that can cost tens of thousands of dollars) ; after that, the employee gets $100 a month. The real benefit, however, is knowing how following the procedure (again, not without possible complications) demonstrates organizational loyalty.
“Everyone knows that’s what you need to do to show management that you’re committed to the company and pushing to have a family many years later,” she said.
A 30-year-old Bank of America associate echoed those sentiments: “There is definitely silent pressure coming from management.
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson, who did not deny details of his benefits, said: ‘When it comes to family, we offer comprehensive benefits across a range of areas. . . Our Family Strengthening Benefit recognizes that families are formed in many ways and helps employees with the cost of adoption, surrogacy and fertility treatments. »
Bank of America had no comment.
OK, I’m no expert on the broad topic of corporate maternity benefits, but like any good journalist, some of my sources are. These are women who have fought their way through the male-dominated cultures of big banking and have the battle scars to prove their success. Here’s what they’ll say: First, any manager who gets directly involved in finding out who’s freezing their eggs is walking on shaky legal and HR ground.
“It’s actually not legal for a boss or management to ask who is involved” in egg freezing, a former chief executive of a major bank and asset manager told me. But the person added, “Some women, especially young women, feel the coercive vibe even though it’s more perception than reality.”
I see both sides of the egg freezing debate. In the past, large company medical coverage plans only offered egg freezing if needed after cancer treatments. More recently, banks have realized that it is good for business to have talented women in leadership positions while fulfilling their desire to be mothers.
That’s why BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is offering all its female employees $20,000 to freeze their eggs. Goldman Sachs and many other companies are now doing the same.
“Overall, egg freezing seems like a constructive and positive thing that gives women more opportunities to stay in roles longer; it’s harder to find women in leadership positions,” Gary Goldstein, CEO of the Whitney Group, an executive search firm, told Eleanor Terrett of Fox Business. “It can certainly have negative consequences, perhaps unintended, if women feel like they have to go through this process to progress.”
Bud’s trans aftertaste
The dust hasn’t entirely settled on the controversial Bud Light-Dylan Mulvaney ads, but now that three weeks have passed, there have been some predictable reactions.
Many left-leaning media loved it and accused conservatives of freaking out over nothing. Conservatives lamented it as a further breakdown of cultural norms. At Anheuser-Busch, Bud’s parent company, executives debate whether promoting a trans woman in a bubble bath while sipping beer is a smart business move.
On the positive side: AB shares rallied after their initial sell-off. There is also a case to be made that all publicity is good publicity; Bud is a fading brand that hasn’t garnered as much attention since Spuds MacKenzie’s early days.
But short-term stock prices should never be a barometer of long-term value — and there are real long-term questions about Bud and Anheuser-Busch. For example, if the company has rejected too many of its right-wing customers, as most beer drinkers tend to be.
AB is owned by a company known as InBev with Belgian-Brazilian roots. It is partly controlled by a private equity firm named 3G Capital. I’m not sure how much beer the 3g guys like to drink or if they have any idea of the beer drinking demonstration but they haven’t been able to reverse the secular downward trend Bud’s sales since they took over about 15 years ago. There is.
They are also known as almost masochistic cost cutters who like to extract fat from their wallet companies and even some bones.
Sources tell me some smart people in marketing got caught up in this cost cutting, and that’s how we put Dylan Mulvaney in a bubble bath with a can of Bud Light.