Compared to men, women often (and in most cases) have a harder time managing and maintaining their careers if they choose to have a family. Even though we are seeing an increase in progressive movements to co-parent, it might be safe to assume that women are still taking on more parental, day-to-day obligations over men when it relates to childcare.
In the past (and in the present – as we are not out of the woods yet), women would often have to choose to either a) have a career or b) have a family. And, if she wanted to have both, a job was considered to be an ‘extra’ and she would still be required to maintain everything that goes along with running a household, etc. Now, I don’t want to get into a debate about gender roles, i.e. who takes out the trash and who cooks dinner, but from a fairly accurate generalization, women have had to make some tough career decisions that many men have had the luxury of opting out of.
As a result of raising a family, whether that was full-time or part-time, women do miss out on opportunities such as promotions, critical technological/ Industry advancements, pay increases, etc. Obviously, this hurts women, whether they are out of work for 2 years or 20 years and the often get penalized for it when they return to the workforce. Not only are they forced to work for less money and lower positions, they are all to often overlooked because of extensive gaps that exist in their resumes. How is this fair? Well, you’re right, it’s not.
For the past couple of years, companies are starting to realize the untapped resource of women who have decided to take a career-pause for their families. This idea of ‘returnship’s’ has taken off among employers such as Paypal and Sendgrid, just to name a few. Basically a ‘returnship’ is an internal program developed specifically for women who want to restart their careers. These programs help employees develop skills that may have evolved since they have been absent and provide them with employment history. Although the programs operate more like internships vs. jobs, these programs offer women an opportunity to gain critical skills and potential employment opportunities within the companies they returnship with.
Although this approach may not be the complete answer to achieving equality in the workplace, specifically when it relates to women and the sacrifices they endure, it does offer some solutions to this ongoing problem that prevents women from advancing or reentering their careers. Here is an article posted by Forbes on the topic of returnships and how companies are having brilliant success with this model.