Women UK look at how women today want to be more like a 1950’s housewife. Are we a generation of women ‘wanting it all’ and furthermore believing it our absolute right to ‘have it all’? Is that not the message we teach our children? No longer forced to choose between children and a career, we are set to embrace superwomanhood by doing both – while holding down a perfect relationship and keeping a spotless home in their spare time.
But what price do we pay for this perfect dream? What a reality check when the ‘domestic goddess’ life turns out to be exhausting, almost unattainable and leaves you feeling permanently guilty and ‘not good enough’. Sound familiar? Looking at women who juggle top jobs, organise kids, keep a house, work at a happy marriage and bake cakes for the school fair, we can’t help but feel complete awe or jealous or maybe we look upon them with pity?
Is all what it seems though? Research into the attitudes of 1,500 women with an average age of 29 found that the women questioned want to “settle down” with their partner by 30 and have their first child a year later, live in the country in married bliss and a couple of dogs and raise a family.
Vicki Shotbolt, deputy chief executive of the National Family and Parenting Institute, said: “This is the generation of young women who have seen the ‘have it all’ ethos up close and personal, and they have realised that it doesn’t work. So is it impossible to have it all?
And after decades of soaring divorce rates and a rise in births outside marriage, it appears the next generation of mothers is reverting to more traditional social roles.
Nine out of 10 young women would rather be married when they have children, while 75 per cent believe that modern couples do not make enough effort to stay together.
Even traditional hobbies, such as knitting, have been making a comeback, with cinemas offering “stitch and bitch” sessions for women who want to watch a film while creating the perfect homespun jumper for their man.
Are the “superwomen” role models of the 1990s fallen from grace? Asking here at Women UK mothers, most agree that the perfect situation is to be able to be at home with children and work part time. Most agree, financially, this is a pipe dream. We ask then, is this a kick in the teeth to feminism? Did we not as women fight hard to be equal in the workplace and be super women?
Younger women don’t want to work crazy hours, pay a fortune for childcare nurseries and fight to keep a relationship good under the strain of it all. They watched their exhausted mothers strive for the perfect life work balance and loose.
Young women today are increasingly putting their personal happiness before a big salary or high-powered career. Above everything else, they crave a work-life balance where they can enjoy a fulfilling relationship, raise happy children and have a job that interests them but doesn’t overwhelm them. The age of the ‘superwoman’, who wants to be the world’s best mother, wife and boss, is dead.”
THE COST OF HAVING IT ALL
* According to the Kinsey Institute for research in reproduction, gender and sex, the pressures on today’s married women mean they have less sex than their 1950s counterparts, with just one in three making love to their husbands more than twice a week.
* One in five women born in 1970 has suffered from depression and anxiety in their thirties, twice the rate of those born in 1940, the University of London has found.
* A Gallup poll in 1954 found that 98 per cent of people disapproved of single mothers; today only 38 per cent feel the same way.
* Two-thirds of women in 1954 repaired old shoes; now a similar proportion simply throw them away.
* One in 10 marriages entered into by teenage women in Great Britain during the late 1960s ended in separation within five years, compared with one in four that took place between 1985 and 1989.