Your comments on GMA this morning were very insightful. However, having left the workforce to have a baby - it took me 6 years to secure a job I can call a career. I just received a job offer with a decent salary and benefits. I did everything on your checklist.
I believe there is a general sense of "those who have jobs will not let those that don't in" - a type of discrimination. There needs to be more discussion about making a paradignm shift in hiring women who have been out of the work force. Generally, we are the ones who do exit the job market - but why should we pay such a high price for our decisions.
Had I known it was going to take me six years to catch up and enter the job market - I probably wouldn't have quit my job. I certainly do not take having a career for granted and I am very grateful that I have that opportunity. I believe that I received the offer because I compiled a bound notebook to include letters of reference, all awards, college transcripts, business plans and examples of my work. I had to go back 27 years - but it worked.