LinkedIn added “stay-at-home-mom” as a job title, in an effort to normalize employment gaps and make sure that moms still have an equal shot in the labor market.
The unpaid work that a woman is providing when staying at home to take care of her family is rarely measured and accounted for, but it definitely corresponds to long working hours that would otherwise cost very expensively to a household.
Explaining these gaps in the résumé is hard, because staying at home is often a disadvantage, many still do not see it as a job and don’t recognize the fact that women are working during those periods.
For years, mothers who’ve temporarily stopped working in order to take care of their children have found it difficult to reintegrate into the working world and asked for ways to reflect a caregiving hiatus on their LinkedIn profiles.
Indeed, the Microsoft-owned professional social network was criticized for its lack of “flexible” language and profile options for all those women who decide to put their career on hold in order to help their family.
Especially in the past year, more women had to leave their jobs, as the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and daycares and decimated the service-oriented businesses whose workforce is mainly female. As a matter of fact, in the U.S. only, a National Women’s Law Center analysis showed that since February 2020 more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce.
“Stay-at-home mom” becomes a job title
Finally, LinkedIn offers the option to stay-at-home parents – not only moms – to update their LinkedIn profiles with new titles, and provide more accurate descriptions of their time away from the paid labor force. Parents caring for their children and managing their households full time can now make those jobs official on their online résumés.
“Stay-at-home mom,” “stay-at-home dad” and “stay-at-home parent” are among the new job titles LinkedIn introduced to its English-language users last week, as part of an effort to allow people better explain months or years away from the paid workforce. Options also include “caretaker,” “homemaker” or simply “mom” or “dad”.
Will a title help change reality or just seal a (negative) deal?
A title is of course one thing – even if we accept that this will make it easier for parents – especially mothers – to describe their employment history and gaps on their profiles.
The important elements to consider though are:
- will society take the right measures to give the option to women to be stay-at-home moms, only if they wish to do so? As of now, the vast majority of women are forced out of the work market when they are having children, due to the lack of supporting caring infrastructures and the misconception that motherhood reduces a woman’s performance.
- will the use of the title eventually help change hiring biases and increase the actual prospects of parents reintegrating in the labor market, or will it carry along the negative connotation that the respective employment gap bears?
If we want to achieve any substantial results, companies should also take important steps towards this direction safeguarding parenthood rights and eliminating biases and illegal discriminatory practices.