LinkedIn is adding ‘stay-at-home mum’ as an official job title after the social media site was accused of using ‘sexist and old-fashioned terminology’ to describe breaks from employment.
Helen Bolen, who lives in New York, took to Medium to complain that the the drop-down list on LinkedIn automatically suggested ‘Homemaker’ when she searched for mother, father or housewife.
She argued that women are forced to ‘manipulate’ their digital CV to justify the time off taken to have a baby and accused the site of having gender bias, adding: ‘LinkedIn must scrub the patriarchal lens through which the platform views the world and link us all in. It’s time to end the stigma of unpaid leave.’
Bef Ayenew, who is director of engineering, has responded to comments about the ‘old-fashioned, sexist terminology’ on LinkedIn, saying: ‘To make it easier for moms, and all parents, we’re making some important changes to the profile. We introduced new job titles, including “stay-at-home mom”, “stay-at-home dad” and “stay-at-home parent” to allow full-time parents and caretakers to more accurately display their roles.’
LinkedIn has added ‘stay-at-home-mum’ after being accused of using ‘old-fashioned, sexist terminology’ to describe unpaid leave from employment (file image)
In her lengthy post, Helen had argued LinkedIn doesn’t provide options such as maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, elderly care leave, or for long term injury/illness, education/re-training, volunteering, long term travel, a gap year, a sabbatical — or for a pandemic.
She said their policy of avoiding opening up discussions about family could hinder opportunities to support candidates throughout the hiring process and the retention of employees who are also primary carers.
Helen revealed her attention towards LinkedIn was sparked by a study in the Harvard Business Review, that found stay-at-home mothers are often viewed as less capable, less reliable and less deserving of a job.
She explained that LinkedIn has the potential to influence other businesses, even though it isn’t responsible for changing national policies.
Helen said: ‘This is a matter all the more poignant given LinkedIn’s stated commitment to diversity and inclusion.’
Bef Ayenew of LinkedIn explained the platform is adding a variety of terms to describe unpaid leave from employment and giving members the option to list their pronouns
Responding to her criticism, Bef explained the site planned to make changes to how they displayed employment. He revealed: ‘More than 2.5 million women left the workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic, many voluntarily, due to a sudden lack of childcare or to manage virtual learning for their children.