We should focus on working practices, not individuals

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Iread with interest that Facebook and Apple are offering their female employees the chance to have their eggs frozen – allowing them a longer stint in the office before they leave to have children.

Because that’s what happens to most of us, isn’t it? The inevitable pull towards having children.

It happened to me. But would I have changed the timing if I’d been offered the chance?

That’s such a hard question to answer retrospectively – how would you be able to make a choice for the future?

I’m not sure how anyone would judge that they’re ready to have a child.

Is it emotional, financial or physical? I think it’s probably a combination of all three.

For me – as I’m one of the lucky ones who got pregnant without pause for thought – it simply felt right.

I could have done with more time in the office forging my path and we could have done with more money.

Plus, at the time I thought I could have done with a younger body.

I was in my late 20s. But it was right and we made our lives work around the children, because that’s what parents do – just get on with it.

If offered pots of cash with a continued career, and frozen eggs ready for the future, I may have taken the option.

But I suspect that the yearning would have still been there.

While the idea of trying to support women into having a longer career span is essentially solid, why is it that a woman has to make the changes rather than working practices?

There we are, sitting in the aftermath of a technology revolution, looking around ourselves all bleary-eyed, wondering quite how the world now works and still focusing on individuals rather than working practices.

It’s time to accept that fundamental shifts have taken place in the world and we should embrace them to give women’s careers longevity while they have children.

So let’s start by creating better childcare, such as local creches that open hours to suit parents.

Then let’s have schools that offer flexible learning and holidays.