LinkedIn adds 'stay-at-home mom' and other caregiver titles to recognize their hard work
The professional social networking site LinkedIn is taking new steps to recognize the labor of moms and other caregivers who’ve been forced out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning this week, LinkedIn users finally have the option of adding stay-at-home mom and other caregiver titles to their resumes.
Previously, LinkedIn required all job titles listed on a user’s resume to be linked to existing companies. That meant parents who took time off to care for children or those who had to take extended family leave had no accurate way to reflect that gap on their online profile. This week, LinkedIn is lifting those restrictions and adding brand new caregiver titles like stay-at-home mom, stay-at-home dad, stay-at-home parent, homemaker and caretaker.
Additional changes are also in the works at LinkedIn, according to a report by Fortune. As a part of the most recent updates, users have the ability to add their pronouns to their LinkedIn page. Soon, users will also be able to create separate resume sections to describe employment gaps using new descriptions, such as “parental leave,” “family care leave” or “sabbatical.”
The changes come on the heels of a viral essay by writer Heather Bolen, in which she criticized LinkedIn’s lack of titles for stay-at-home parents as a form of “implicit bias against women.” Bolen says the silence around parenting, family and caregiving obligations harms women in the workplace and prevents “meaningful conversations about workplace policies that could better support the hiring, productivity, job satisfaction and retention of employees who are also primary caretakers.”
On social media, many are applauding LinkedIn for recognizing the labor of parents and caregivers, and for their commitment to starting a much needed conversation about workplace policies that support families.
“This is a massive step for employers to finally recognize that the (unpaid) care work that women do is actually VALUABLE,” one person writes.
“Stay at home mom was the HARDEST job I’ve ever had,” another person adds. “Happy to see this much-needed addition to the LinkedIn platform. Brb...updating my LinkedIn profile.”
The updates at LinkedIn are especially important for parents and caregivers who will be looking for work following the pandemic. Many women, in particular, have had their careers decimated by pandemic job losses and lack of access to school and child care. In February 2021, a report by the National Women’s Law Center showed more than 2.3 million women had left the U.S. workforce. The Center for American Progress has suggested the losses to women in the workplace could “set gender equality back a generation.”
Even parents who didn’t lose their jobs or step back from their careers during the pandemic have felt the heavy burden of having to remain silent about the stress of their obligations at home. A Catalyst survey of adults ages 20 to 65 who work in large companies found that 41% of working mothers surveyed said they have to hide their caregiving struggles from their colleagues. Additionally, four in 10 parents said they fear it would be a risk to their employment to take advantage of any benefits their workplaces offer to working parents.
The work of parents and caregivers has been vital throughout the pandemic. They shouldn’t have to sweep that labor under the rug for fear of employers questioning their dedication to their careers. With a simple change, LinkedIn has taken a huge step towards normalizing conversations about family and care obligations in the workplace. Hopefully the move also encourages employers to finally do more to meet the needs of the hardworking moms, dads and caregivers they employ.
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