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Valerie Young's picture

When Caroline Kennedy wanted to be considered for Hillary Clinton's seat in the US Senate, a number of articles appeared presenting her as the icon of mid-life womanhood, returning to the workplace after years spent in the home raising children.

To which I thoughtfully responded, "Huh?"

A seat in the US Senate is hardly your typical on-ramping job. Caroline Kennedy is hardly your typical stay at home mother. In fact, the circumstances of her particular job search are so singular that she hardly serves as a helpful example of a woman's mid-life entry to the paid workforce. Is it really news that women move in and out of paid work at multiple points on the worklife continuum and have been doing so in ever greater numbers for decades? The notion that a woman with a brain, employment experience and children - gasp - may also be a productive and valuable employee has actually gotten some traction in the real world. Not as much as it should, certainly, but some.

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