This transcript contains multiple footnotes, revealing sources of research behind each step of the film. Where footnotes reference links to research available online, a link is provided. These online resources, and offline (books, other print-only) references are all listed in the research page. We’ve been adding footnotes progressively, so in some places you’ll see footnotes with A, B, C added. This is simply where we’ve added late-breaking references, rather than painstakingly re-numbering everything each time. We’ll remedy this once we’ve really finalized the list.

Let’s Get to Work

A project for the Open Society Foundations, July-October 2014

An Inquiry into Technology and the Future of Work
An inquiry into reproductive technology and the freelance future of work

This is the story of two socio-economic trends, each now testing the American middle class’ assumptions about work and family. For one thing the freelance economy is expanding[1]. Separately, a marketplace for assistive reproductive technology is emerging[2].
 Unlikely as it seems, these two are related. Here’s how:

First, some things to bear in mind:

i. What makes any new technology disruptive[3] is the experience economy[4] that grows up around it: By that, we mean an ecosystem of stories that brings scientific breakthroughs into the marketplace and keeps them there:

Initially there’s a breakthrough moment: ‘It works!’
Then a business tool story: ‘What we’ve all been waiting for’.
Next, it gets personal: ‘There’s one for everybody’
Until the mythology of a new normal settles: 
‘How did we live without it?’

ii. Functionality is absolute, but these stories about new technology are 
always up for grabs [4B].

With this in mind, let’s talk about the birds and the bees…and the reproductive tech industry:

With and without the help of reproductive technology, American families now come in more shapes and sizes[5]. In-vitro fertilization (IVF), the primary Reproductive Technology, has been around for over 30 years. The first test tube baby arrived in 1978. Since then, Some 5m people [5B] have started out in a little glass dish [6]. Pretty cool.

Medical advances have since birthed a $4bn-a-year industry for:

  • Clinically assisted conception
  • Sperm and egg donation
  • Egg and embryo freezing
  • Surrogacy

Actually, separating sex from reproduction to give people options isn’t new: Contraception has always done that – preventively, now reproductive technology does that inventively. When it works [7] to overcome biological infertility, IVF is a miraculous appliance of science for a lucky few.

Related assistive procedures, like egg freezing and intra-uterine insemination (or IUI), also help fertile women to jump socio-economic hurdles to motherhood[8].

But it’s still early days: in fact, reproductive technology facilitates only about 1% live births in the US today, but what everyone is focused on is potential demand.[9]

Many procedures are still experimental[10], their impact unexplored[11]: The long-term effects of IVF drugs, if there are any, on mothers and their children, are not yet known. Like other disruptive technology, we will live with these latest medical advances for a generation before their full implications become clear, but meantime:

Boo: These technologies are expensive [Jeremijenko, Almeling], and typically, not covered by health insurance, making them available only to a few, while many workplaces continue to treat ordinary pregnancy as a ‘disability’[12], signaling that, on the company clock, where is no good time for employees to have and raise a child.

On a parallel trajectory, some major corporations recently announced egg freezing as a “perk”[13], for junior executive women to “buy time” to climb the career ladder.

This is ‘plutocratic feminism’ at work, says Susan Faludi:

“Submission [to a patriarchal corporate agenda] disguised as liberation”[14]

It’s nothing new to have consumer capitalism sell our bodies back to US. Mostly, we’re ok with that:

  • In our teens, to define our femininity
  • In our 20s to express our sexuality, 
and now,
  • In our 30s, to extend our reproductive capacity

“We gave you ladies your education and economic independence – now you’re all discerning white collar consumers. You wanted to be liberated from your biology? Technology can help with that…for a price: If you’re willing to subscribe and pay for premium shipping, have it all, on demand! — You’re welcome.”[15]

Embracing reproductive tech as an H.R. tool, corporate elites are effectively reminding women:

“Your body creates problems for capitalism – and those problems (childcare costs, inflexible hours) are your problems”

But frankly, it’s girly of us to try to fix capitalism’s problems.[16] We should focus on fixing our own, so let’s be clear: It’s not just ‘you-go-girl’ ambition that drives women to delay parenthood[17]. College debt, unaccommodating 
benefits packages, Mister not-quite-right, stagnant and inequitable incomes already make women – like men – ‘economically infertile’. So, hold the ice.

It’s also not our “inner failings” that hold us back from making it to the top or having it all, as Mrs Sandberg had us believe[18]. The system in which women and men work, while we are of child-bearing and child-raising age, is broken.

An executive technology-centric “cure”[19] for precarious parenting policy leaves corporate and regulatory gaps unplugged, unchallenged.

It’s as if boomers believe millennials are on the same path they were in their 20s.[20] It’s as if corporations will always have their way.

But the way Americans work is changing: The economy is going freelance.

Freelancers Union[21] estimates that 53m of us nationwide work independently – That’s 1: 3 Americans.
 Accurate data is hard to come by, not least because the U.S. Department of Labor counts jobs not people. [22] But within 20 years, it is estimated that 40% of the economy will be independent.

What’s going on here?

Since 2008, the bubble of the American Dream has burst for many[23]. And even in the recovery, Old Economy “jobs for life” are not likely coming back[24]

There are many reasons to work independently, many kinds of freelancers. Relatively few are entrepreneurs:

Some innovators, some whizz-kids in start-ups; more are project-based, collaborative, mutually dependent creatives (solo writers, filmmakers, designers, for example), working gig-to-gig, but not all feel like free agents:

Some are day laborers, more vulnerable [24B] – cab drivers, cleaners, domestic help. Others feel pushed into working for themselves as former employers offer only contract work in the recovery. Yet those with young families may even jump to freelance: Having left corporate work to have a family, they aren’t inspired to return to rigid hours and workplaces that 
don’t flex to domestic routines.

Put simply, work and family have flipped:

The institution of work has headed back home while the family has gone to market, commoditized by reproductive technology. This flip is taking place against a backdrop of stagnation and shrinkage:
In a globalized, digitally connected, volatile economy, the middle class cartilage between the international superrich and the domestic working poor, is getting worn out.[25]

The U.S. Middle Class has been quietly enduring a new instability since the late 90s. 
Consider this:

  • Child care still costs twice as much as rent in every state in the nation;
  • Only 10% facilities across the country offer care rated by the National Institute of Health as high-quality.
  • And a child care worker earns less than a parking lot attendant

That’s the case even though research shows over and over that America’s economic future hinges on preparing the next generation during early childhood.

Kindergarten skills may be more critical determinants of job market success than all subsequent stages of education. [25B]

So the prevailing message has become:
Kiddos, you’re all on your own!

No wonder people caring for dependents (young and old) [25C] are fed up with balancing their professional and personal obligations – or they simply can’t afford to juggle both. No wonder smashing the glass ceiling just isn’t as much of a priority for many women.

So Houston, we have a problem.

Might we be better off blending work/life rather than balancing them? [25D] Might millennials be better off turning out?

Economists of the 1970s resisted tackling what they called “wicked problems” of the public sector.[26]

“Too complex” they said. “Too wicked” they said.

Today, many would rightly see increasing social and cultural diversity as a good thing, reckons design action hero, Dan Hill, but as interests proliferate, and values diverge, he says this complexity presents

“A challenge to systems, such as governance and public service, built in another age. It places the static system in tension; a suddenly rigid system becomes brittle.” [27]

These challenges to systems built in another age can no longer be ignored. And if the economists can’t figure it out, who is it going to take? With equal measures of pragmatism and imagination, it’s going to take a strategic design squad, comfortable working with contingency and compromise: While analysts typically observe how things are, strategic designers envisage how else things could be. [28]

So. The experience economy growing up around reproductive technology is still up for grabs, remember? And the corporate stance is already stale before it takes hold, right?

Let’s edit these stories, and articulate other more agile, tech-enabled futures that align with where more people really are. That is, let’s take seriously the direction the freelance sector is taking the economy, and let’s draw inspiration from it.

Then let’s integrate these family-enabling technologies into a wider[29], adaptive social economic system that supports a just environment for women and men to prosper, and have and raise thriving children. Ok. So what does that look like?  [30]

It means deploying technology in a context that values all kinds of people, in all kinds of families, working in all kinds of jobs at all stages. It means underpinning consumer capitalism with some shared social values of who we want to be. It means supporting

  • Teens, with actually useful sex education[31]
  • Young men and women, with access to health care and financial roadmaps for all kinds of future families. [32]
  • Thirty and forty-somethings, with no-questions-asked reasonable working hours, parental leave both partners can count on, decent, affordable child care, and work worth returning to.

In other words, it asks for a change of behaviors, attitudes and habits, backed up with joined up policies, information and legislation that bolster productivity all round. That requires a shift:

  • A shift in language – no more pregnancy as “disability”
  • A shift in values – less macho clock time
  • A shift in priorities from:
    – Corporate goals to cooperative gains
    – Balancing work/life to blurring them
    – Profit and Loss, to profit, loss and measurable accountability [34]
    – Individualism to interdependence
    – Stepping off all together to stepping back for a while. [35]

…Towards outcomes that benefit everyone: Good for parents and kids today, but also for tomorrow’s workforce, society, economy, even good for the companies that had resisted change.

Where will that take us?

If we treated the freelance economy as a platform [36 page X] from which to define an alternative experience economy around newly viable reproductive technologies, that could lead us towards more feminist, less socially and morally anemic narratives than those that have started to emerge from Silicon Valley lately.

We’d do well to borrow

– Policy models from other advanced economies [37] that like to plan for the long term (hi, Sweden!)
– Organizing strategies from others who successfully voice shared interests
– Strategic design methods successfully applied to other areas of public policy to see what those can yield for 21st century households. [38]

If we managed that, imagine what we could do with all kinds of other “wicked problems”…

So, finally, who else will it take?

  • Working parents to demand more of employers
  • Men, at home and at work, to support women in this dialogue
  • Health insurers to cover women’s fertility drugs – just like they do Viagra.
  • Organizers to demand new bargaining rights and to access the right channels of representation
  • Legislators and lawyers to create mandates, set up new legal frameworks and inscribe new policy [39]
  • Corporate leaders to ‘think differently’ about the people on their org charts:
  • Scientists to reveal medical progress behind the scenes
  • Educators to give the next generation real road maps for this changing social, scientific landscape

Would the Neil Degrasse Tyson for our reproductive futures please step forward?

Tomorrow’s competitive U.S. workforce depends on addressing parental leave, affordable childcare and navigating a sane path for technology today.

So, let’s get to viable freelance and domestic work. Let’s get to work.



Directed, written and illustrated by Rachel D. Abrams

Produced and edited by Yvonne Jukes

Researched by Kate Nicholson

All live action footage, courtesy of The Prelinger Archives

“Big Like Curby” by Jonwayne, courtesy of Stones Throw Records

Starfield Milkyway image, courtesy of Bigstock

Thanks to

The Open Society Foundations, US programs
The School of Visual Arts, Design for Social Innovation MFA program

Steve Brodsky, Jodi Burian, Maggie Corser, Rachel Chrastil, Amy D., Alexandra Vann Daly, Susan Faludi, Laura Forlano, Cheryl Heller, Natalie Jeremijenko, Patricia Jerido Jen Kilian, Jean John, Emily Lee, Emery Martin, Chi Nguyen, Opuruiche Miller, Billy Pavone, Jill Teckenbrock, Bill Vandenberg, Emily Wilson, Natasha and Emily and their staff, London Graphic Centre, Café Esquina, Barvis and Rita.

All characters appearing in this work, unless explicitly named, are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

© All rights reserved, Turnstone Consulting LLC 2014


[0] This film was originally entitled, “Pins, Needles and your 1099”. The “pins and needles” idea refers to the physical sensation of enduring numbness in anticipation of discomfort, and comes from an earlier project, drawing from interviews with people about childlessness and reproductive technology. This project has been distributed and read all over the world since its online publication in May 2014. A 1099-MISC is the official document that American freelancers collect from their clients as part of their US tax declarations each year.

[1] Harnessing Talent, a report commissioned by The Knight Foundation for the Civic Innovation in Action Studio, in May 2014, authors Bryan Boyer et al. estimated that within 20 years, 40% of the US workforce will be working independently.

[2] US ‘Baby Business’ (infertility services) worth $4bn, PRWEB
The global market for fertility drugs tops $1 billion, controlled largely by Merck Serono.

[3] Steven Sinofsky discusses The four stages of disruptive innovation, Business Insider/LinkedIn, January 2014
[4] The Experience Economy, Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, Harvard Business School, 1998
[4B] Douglas Rushkoff, Program or Be Programmed
Jaron Lanier, Who Owns The Future?

[5] Diversification of the American Family discussed in The American Middle Class Hasn’t Gotten A Raise in 15 Years, Ben Casselman, Five Thirty Eight:
“In 1988, the typical American adult was 40 years old, white and married, with a high school diploma. If he was a man, he probably worked full time. If she was a woman, she probably didn’t. Twenty-five years later, Americans are older, more diverse and more educated. We are less likely to be married and more likely to live alone. Work is divided more evenly between the sexes.”

Single? So are the majority of US Adults, PBS

[5B] We were asked whether we had any statistics on the uptake of IVF by ethnicity in the US. Though we did not explicitly explore that, this area alone deserves its own thorough, evidence-based study. Professor Marcia Inhorn, a Yale medical anthropologist, is an expert in infertility across the Middle East. She is clear that there (as in the US) access to fertility treatments is highly socially stratified. Echoing Renee Almeling’s conclusions in “Sex Cells, the medical market for eggs and sperm” – that the trade of reproductive material is deeply socially embedded — we can extrapolate that in the US, white, professional women are ‘merely’ the first target market for this industry, the ‘early adopters’ – and until the price drops, or regulation makes it more accessible, it remains less readily available to other social strata. See also the Appendix of Sex Cells for a breakdown of research subjects by ethnicity and other social attributes. Then there are layers of social attitudes around motherhood, childlessness, single parenting that also inform who does and doesn’t show up at fertility clinics (see Andrew Dosunmu’s feature film, Mother of George for a contemporary exploration of this). In other words, understanding the uptake of IVF can’t be separated from the varied cultural contexts in which women have access to information, financing and medical care.

[6] Five million IVF babies since 1978, The Telegraph, July 2012

[7] In a New York Times op-ed, Selling the Fantasy of Fertility, September 12, 2013, Miriam Zoll and Pamela Tsigdinos point out:
“The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology reports that, on average, of the 1.5 million assisted reproductive cycles performed worldwide, only 350,000 resulted in the birth of a child. That is a 77 percent global failure rate. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the overall failure rate at almost 70 percent.”

[8] What do reproductive-age women who undergo oocyte cryopreservation think about the process as a means to preserve fertility? Brooke Hodes-Wertz, M.D., M.P.H., Sarah Druckenmiller, B.A., Meghan Smith, M.D., Nicole Noyes, M.D. American Society of Reproductive Medicine, May 2013
“During the past three decades, the industrialized world has witnessed an increase in the age at first birth and the number of women delaying childbearing (*). Commensurate has been a 150% increase in number of women giving birth between the ages of 35 and 39 years and a steady increase in those aged 40–44 years (*). In the past year alone, the first-birth rate for women aged 40–44 years increased 5%, whereas the average overall first-birth age climbed to 25.4 years (up from 21.4 years in 1970) for all races (*). This later-motherhood trend has been attributed to numerous educational, professional, personal, financial pursuits, and/or circumstances (*) occurring in the background of an unaltered age-related natural fertility decline, forcing a reproductive dilemma for women and society. Further burdening this trend is that pregnancies conceived at an advanced maternal age are more often associated with aneuploidy and spontaneous abortion (*).” [The sources marked (*) here are all in the original article]

[9] According to the US’s Center for Disease Control 2012 Assistive Reproductive Technology (ART) Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, 176,247* ART cycles were performed at 456 reporting clinics in the United States during 2012, resulting in 51,267 live births (deliveries of one or more living infants) and 65,160 live born infants. Although the use of ART is still relatively rare as compared to the potential demand, its use has doubled over the past decade. Today, over 1% of all infants born in the United States every year are conceived using ART.

From these statistics, it’s also possible to calculate that the ratio of live births to ART cycle as around 1 in 3: 51,267 / 176,247 = 29%, in line with the European calculations for worldwide rates that Zoll and Tsigdinos quote, see footnote 7.

[10] Center for Women’s Reproductive Care at Columbia University Medical Center estimates that for egg freezing, typical success rates are a 5-6 percent chance of pregnancy per egg.

[11] Women’s experience of IVF: A Follow up study, K. Hammarberg, J. Astbury and H.W.G. Baker, Oxford University Press, 2000

[12] Small Businesses Overwhelmingly Support Family Medical Leave, Small Business Majority, Feb 2013

Here’s why family leave is a huge deal for new parents, Catherine Pearson, Huffington Post
The US has no mandatory maternity leave (or paid family leave), worse statutory provisions for working parents than other advanced economies. Less than 60% of workers in the US qualify for any protected leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only extends to employees who have worked at their company for at least 12 months, put in at least 1250 hours and only if their employer has at least 50 employees. Some qualify but can’t afford to lose that salary.

For the self-employed (in New York, at least), only one insurance company that sells income (or “short term disability”) insurance covers ‘normal pregnancy’; others do not [independent research by author, 2014].

[13] Apple and Facebook’s Newest Perk: Freezing Your Eggs, Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2014

Facebook and Apple to pay employees to freeze their eggs, Siri Srinivas

Freezing eggs for female staff is great in theory. But it offers no guarantees, Sarah Boseley,

By offering to freeze their employees’ eggs, Apple and Facebook make it clear they don’t know what women want, Harriet Minter – all three in The Guardian, all October 15, 2014

The sobering facts about egg freezing that nobody’s talking about, October 24, 2014
Pamela Tsigdinos, Wired

[14] “From the Lowell ‘Mill Girls’ to Lean In: The Long Dance of Feminism and Capitalism”, Susan Faludi, Keynote Address: Feminism for What? Conference, John Jay College New York, September 13, 2014

[15] Bloomberg Businessweek’s front cover on April 17, 2014 read “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career”. Compare it with New York magazine’s Waking Up From The Pill, Nov 2010

IMHO: Our everyday online transactions with services like, for example, Amazon Prime, Fresh Direct, Netflix and Seamless and others, perpetuate a sense that we are entitled (for a fee) to overcome all constraints, and use technology to render any inconveniences or obstacles uncoercive. The values and language of consumer entitlement, of on-demand consumption, are starting to bleed into they way our most private choices are managed (by ourselves, by others): It is notable (no coincidence?), that the first institutions to subsidize access to ART, as ‘employee perks’, are Silicon Valley’s high tech innovation companies, rather than, say, major corporations in any other sector, government programs or, imagine this: health insurance companies.

[16] Both these ideas, that women’s bodies create problems for capitalism, and that it is girly of us to try to fix capitalism’s problems, were put forward by The Nation journalist, Liza Featherstone, at The Baffler’s Feminism For What? Conference, New York, September 2014

What do reproductive-age women who undergo oocyte cryopreservation think about the process as a means to preserve fertility?
Brooke Hodes-Wertz, M.D., M.P.H., Sarah Druckenmiller, B.A., Meghan Smith, M.D., Nicole Noyes, M.D. American Society of Reproductive Medicine, May 2013 documents survey results confirming other reasons for delaying childbearing besides career focus (underlining is mine):

“When asked why patients had not had children earlier, the overwhelming (88%) reason cited was lack of a partner. In the “other” category were 10 respondents who said that they had a partner but it was the wrong partner with whom to have child or that they were experiencing marital/partnership discord and therefore did not want to create embryos with this partner. Nineteen percent of women said earlier childbearing would have been an option if their workplace had been more flexible. Most patients (83%) believed that the media gave them the impression that natural conception and motherhood at an older age was a viable option.”

[18] Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, 2013. As a counterbalance: Emily Martin, The Woman in the Body and Anthony Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy.

[19] Facebook Offers To Freeze Female Employees’ Newborn Children, The Onion October 15, 2014

[20] Baby boomers ruined America: Why blaming millennials is misguided and annoying, Alexander S. Balkin, Salon Oct 20, 2014

Grayson Perry, The Rise and Fall of Default Man, New Statesman, October 2014, see his discussion of the word ‘community’ here, among other things.

[21] Freelancers Union

[22] Richard Greenwald, St. Joseph’s College, The death of 9-to-5: permanent freelancers, empty offices and the new way America works, in Harnessing Talent, The Knight Foundation, May 2014

[23] The American Middle Class Hasn’t Gotten A Raise In 15 Years | Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight

[24] The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? (sic), Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, Oxford University, September 17, 2013


Regarding income inequality, the session on “The impact of race, immigration status and LGBTQ identity on the job” at The Baffler’s Feminism for What conference?, highlighted that the oft-quoted “77¢ on the $1″ refers to the discrepancy between the wages of white women and white men. On closer inspection, the same work earns a black woman only 64¢, a latina only 54¢: Pretty much half what white men earn. #smh

Participants in that discussion were: Zerlina Maxwell, political analyst and contributing writer for,,, and, Imani Gandy, senior legal analyst for and cohost of This Week in Blackness Prime, Hayden Mora, director of strategic relations for the Human Rights Campaign, Andrea Cristina Mercado, campaign director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. On organizing for contingent workers’ rights, see also Jobs for Justice.

Regarding ‘freelancers’, ‘entrepreneurs’, independent consultants’ and ‘day laborers’:
What’s so wonderful about language is that we have these positive and negative words for the same thing. That’s why language is an infinite treasure. When we say in the middle, we think of someone who wants to remain equidistant from certain alternatives because he or she is afraid to take sides. But being in the center — isn’t that interesting? The whole thing changes.” Susan Sontag The Complete Rolling Stone interview]

[25] The New Instability, Stephanie Coontz, New York Times, July 26, 2014

Despite recovery, fewer Americans identify as middle class, Pew Research Jan 28, 2014:

“The nationally representative survey of 1,504 adults conducted Jan. 15-19 found that the share of Americans who identify with the middle class has never been lower, dropping  to 44% in the latest survey  from 53% in 2008 during the first months of the Great Recession. At the same time, the share of the public who says they are in the lower or lower-middle classes rose by 15 percentage points, from 25% in 2008 to 40% today. “


“The earnings of those born in 1970 have fallen behind those of their parents at the same stage. for the middle class, the 2000s have been a lost decade. the 2000s were the lost decade of the middle class” Casselman, id.

“The American middle class peaked in the late 90s”, Annie Lowrey, New York magazine, quoted in Casselman, id.

“Not only have middle class incomes stagnated, but the middle tier of earners has also been shrinking
the generation born in 1970 out-earned their parents born in 1950, but their gains stalled in the 2000s in their 30s and now, in their 40s their earnings have fallen behind those of their parents at the same stage of their lives.
 The 2008 crash “turned stagnation into outright decline”, with insufficient recovery since.” Casselman, id.


“Center-based child care fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) exceeds annual median rent payments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

“Children’s kindergarten skill levels are correlated with their subsequent success (or failure) in the job market as adults, even accounting for the quality and quantity of elementary, secondary, and post- secondary schooling.” Washington Center for Equitable Growth: Job Quality Matters: How our future economic competitiveness hinges on the quality of parents’ jobs, Heather Boushey

At “Feminism for What?”, Heather Boushey also referenced Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. Put simply, he speculates that patrimony (inherited wealth of the Jane Austen-era) may well return as a significant social lever as social and income inequalities deepen and calcify into wealth inequalities.

“A growing number of economists have become convinced that a comprehensive child care system is not only a worthwhile investment, but also an essential one. James Heckman, the Nobel-winning economist, has calculated that, in the best early childhood programs, every dollar that society invests yields between $7 and $12 in benefits.”
New Republic, The Hell of American Day Care

This is also echoed in A Bit Rich, by the UK-based New Economics Foundation. See also their Work Time essay, on “building social and environmental value into prices”

[25C] Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A critically acclaimed graphic memoir of the New Yorker cartoonist’s account of caring for her aging, dying parents. The first comic book ever to be shortlisted for the National Book Award.

[25D] Daniel Pink, Free-Agent Nation, 2002

[26] “The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail, because of the nature of these problems. They are “wicked” problems, whereas science has developed to deal
with “tame” problems. Policy problems cannot be definitively described. Moreover, in a pluralistic society there is nothing like the undisputable public good; there is no objective definition of equity; policies that respond to social problems cannot be meaningfully correct or false; and it makes no sense to talk about “optimal solutions” to social problems unless severe qualifications are imposed first. Even worse, there are no “solutions” in the sense of definitive and objective answers.”
Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, University of California, Berkeley, 1973

[27] Dan Hill, Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary, 2014

[28] Roger Martin, The Opposable Mind, discusses the value to strategists of designers practice of abductive thinking

[29] Sophie Zadeh, New conceptions: single mothers by sperm donation concludes,
“Instead of relying on a single stereotype of single mothers by sperm donation, our focus should remain on research which continues to look closely at the well-being of the mothers and children within these families.

Most fundamentally, the debate ignited by Edwards and Steptoe back in 1978 must now move beyond arguments in favour of the traditional family, comprised of two married, heterosexual parents and their 2.4 children. In other words, the need for new conceptions – of family life in general, and of single motherhood specifically – is now clear.”

See also: Nicky Hudson, Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction,
both Centre for Family Research, Cambridge University

30 Interview conversation with Natalie Jeremijenko, on the Half Life Ratio project

31 What do reproductive-age women who undergo oocyte cryopreservation think about the process as a means to preserve fertility? Brooke Hodes-Wertz, M.D., M.P.H., Sarah Druckenmiller, B.A., Meghan Smith, M.D., Nicole Noyes, M.D. American Society of Reproductive Medicine, May 2013 concludes (underlining is mine):

As women continue to delay childbearing, it is the responsibility of reproductive health care providers to ensure that they are not becoming involuntarily infertile or childless due to a lack of education or awareness. In one study, almost 90% of undergraduate students reported that they desired to become parents in the future, with only 2% planning to have their first child after the age of 35 years. This represents a major discrepancy between cited parenting intentions and actual societal trends.

Also see:
Sex Dread, in American Savage, by Dan Savage
“What’s your sexual footprint?” Al Vernaccio’s talk to TEDYouth, San Diego

32 I wish we’d be able to find more precedents – microfinancing from developing world? The work of Jan Chipchase? There’s certainly a major opportunity here.

33 The work of Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic
Harnessing Talent, Civic Innovation Studio, The Knight Foundation, May 2014

Regarding ‘no more pregnancy as disability’, we certainly do not want to imply that we should stop supporting pregnant women with income insurance during their pregnancy or post-partum leave from work. On the contrary. But we do mean that words are powerful, and stigmatising women as ‘disabled’ while they are economically less productive while they do the productive work of birthing and raising a person, is unconstructive (that’s one word for it…). Some more extreme interpretations on this topic can be found in Jackie Stevens’ Pregnancy Envy and the politics of compensatory masculinities. The conclusion is not for the faint-hearted…

34 In the Rise of Gender Capitalism, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Sarah Kaplan and Jackie VanderBrug call for metrics to create incentives, track progress and, like quotas, to start conversations.

35 Sylvia Ann Hewett, On Ramps, Off Ramps, Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success

36 Dan Hill, id.

37 Yes, we mentioned the Swedes, but they’re not the only standout Scandinavian country for work/life balance: 5 Simple office policies that make Danish workers way more happy than Americans, Fast Company, Sept 2014,

38 Quoted in Hill, id.

39 Charles Kindregan, Assisted Reproductive Technology: A Lawyers Guide to Emerging Law and Science
and some specific examples of lawyers changing the law to accommodate non-traditional families in California