Career paths after being a PE Associate?

Last week I got an offer to start as a PE Associate in 2025. I realized I don't know that much about the industry beyond the Associate level because I was so focussed on getting the job so am looking for insight on the following:

1) Is it hard to move up in PE? I've heard it's very saturated- do people at funds with good reputations find themselves struggling to become a VP/Principal etc?

2) Is there value in doing an MBA realistically?

3) If I realize PE isn't for me, what are my exit options after being an associate? How do they stack up and any recs for learning more about them?

4) I'm female and there aren't many women at my fund- does anyone have any insight into the significance of gender in PE? I'm also worried that when I have children (5-15ish years from now) I won't have decent maternity benefits- I know it's a long way away but does anyone know about options here too?

 
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