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Why women are restarting their careers with internships

Sarvesh Agrawal
13th Apr 2018
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An internship, with its short-term, experimental, and flexible nature, is the ideal solution for women who quit the workforce to either make a gradual transition to full-time work or engage in short-duration work.

Maintaining work-life balance is a major challenge for women, especially when they get married or start a family. Life gets so busy at times that it becomes almost impossible to focus on anything. This takes a toll on their professional and personal life, most of the times resulting in the guilt of not giving enough time to family. Most often than not, women often choose to take a career break as the last resort to solve the work-life management problem.

As time passes and they settle, responsibilities become manageable, and they find themselves with spare time and a wish to go back to work. However, the career gap, followed by diminished confidence, hinders them from doing so. This is why most women have their doubts regarding taking time off their career. But now, they have found themselves a new way to reboot their career, with “internships for women”.

A considerable number of women are now taking up internships to restart their careers. One such example is of Vidya Amar, who worked as a software developer in a reputed firm before taking a decade-long break from her career to take care of her son. She was happy that she could devote her time to the household, but it didn’t give her complete satisfaction. Being an ambitious woman, she wanted to get back on her feet. After a few years, when her son grew up and required less attention, she decided to get back to work. To upskill herself, she took up a course in Android development and started writing codes for small apps, but she wasn’t confident enough to get back to work. So, taking a small but critical step towards returning to the workforce, she took up an internship where she experienced the intricacies of Android app development first-hand, performed significantly well, and regained her lost confidence. For Vidya, an internship turned out to be a kickstarter to her paused career.

Just like Vidya, a lot of other women are turning to internships to (re)start their careers. To understand the reasons for the same, we conducted a survey with over 150 women and found that most of them couldn’t start their careers because of family commitments or had to leave their career at some point to attend to family and kids. But, they had a constant urge to create their individual identity and to be self-dependent. After a period, when their family and children settle, they ponder over joining the workforce but are apprehensive because of reasons like lack of necessary skills, low confidence, or the concern of maintaining their work-life balance.

This is where an internship with its short-term, experimental, and flexible nature becomes an ideal solution for such women to either make a gradual transition to full-time work or keep themselves engaged in work with the help of internships throughout. Here, I have enlisted the top three reasons why women are (re)starting their careers with internships.

 

  1. Flexible work options: Few years into the break, women often find themselves left with some free time in their daily routine but not enough to join a full-time job. Here begins their search for flexible work options. But, there are certain jobs which require them to pay focused attention and thus can’t be done remotely (for example, handling internal operations of a company can’t be done while staying at your home), which is why many women are turning to internships in search of work opportunities that offer part-time or work-from-home options.

 

  1. Trying their hands at something new: Being away from their jobs for long may sometimes result in a change of interests. Here, they see an internship as the perfect way to start a career in an entirely new field. Another aspect is that some women see internships as a way to finally follow their passion, which they couldn’t pursue before because of their jobs. Let’s take the example of Pallavi, who had a testing job before she quit to relocate with her husband. Then, when resuming her professional life, she decided to follow her love for travel and took up an internship where she had to write articles on travel and tourism.

 

  1. Seek gradual transition: Diving back into their career after an extended break could be extremely sudden and might make everything unmanageable for them. Resultantly, seeking a gradual transition from their life as a homemaker to becoming a professional again, women are taking up internships as they require lesser commitment as compared to regular jobs. This way, they get used to the changes and gradually become ready to join full-time jobs.

 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

 

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Authors
Sarvesh Agrawal
Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder & CEO of Internshala – an internship and training platform. An alumnus of IIT Madras, Sarvesh worked with Capital One, Barclays, and Aviva plc before starting up. From the past seven years, he has been on a mission to build a ‘world-full of opportunities’ for students by providing meaningful internships and reducing the skill gap between the industry and the students.

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