The Atlantic

The Mid-Career Internship

For women who have been away from the workforce for a spell, sometimes re-entry programs are the only way back in.
Source: Jae C. Hong / AP

Economists studying women and work have consistently cited career interruptions as a one of the main reason that a variety of workplace inequalities persist—from long-term pay penalties for dropping out, to missing promotions that would (theoretically) put women in leadership positions. In fact, the gender pay gap is the most dire for married women. And while the overall pay gap has been slowly closing for decades, the motherhood penalty—whereby women with children experience wage penalties that women without children and men don’t—has not diminished over time.

The term “off-ramping” is used to describe women who are voluntarily leaving their job for an extended amount of time. In a 2015 survey from Pew Research, nearly 40 percent of women with children reported taking a significant amount of time off work, and 27 percent reported quitting their jobs for responsibilities at home. And for these women, the

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