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Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality [Paperback]

Rebecca Asher
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 April 2012

If we live in an age of equality, why are women are still left holding the baby?

Today, women outperform men at school and university. They make a success of their early careers and enter into relationships on their own terms. But once they have children, their illusions of equality are swiftly shattered as the time machine of motherhood transports them back to the 1950s.

Entertaining and controversial, Shattered exposes the inequalities that still exist between women and men - at work, at home and within relationships - and sets out a bold manifesto for a more fulfilling family life.

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Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality + The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 April 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099548844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099548843
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I was utterly gripped. This is powerful stuff. Rebecca Asher's take of the culture of parenting is radical, original and refreshingly spirited, a heartfelt call for change" (Viv Groskop Daily Telegraph)

"Asher is an elegant writer and a lucid thinker... This is a polemical book, stuffed full of research and case studies; yet it is gripping enough to read through the night. It left me fired up with reformist zeal" (Jemima Lewis Mail on Sunday)

"A furious, but immensely articulate, puncturing of the myth that the nirvana of parental equality has been achieved... An intelligent, thoroughly researched and highly readable contribution to a debate that urgently needs to be aired in the corridors of power, as well as through gritted teeth over snatched cups of bitter coffee in baby and toddler groups" (Susan Flockhart Sunday Herald)

"Asher wants a revolution, and her conviction is invigorating... This book should be read by parents and policymakers alike" (Rachel Seiffert Guardian)

"Should be required reading for policy makers and new parents alike... This is the academic counterpart to the roller coaster of emotional experience that forms the basis for books such as Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work" (Rebecca Taylor Time Out)

Book Description

If we live in an age of equality, why are women are still left holding the baby? A revolutionary new manifesto for achieving a new equality of the sexes in family life.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Fleur
Shattered is non-fiction at its best, well researched and well referenced but humanised by first-hand accounts and enlivened by Asher's very convincing argument that the division of parenting in the UK leaves a lot to be desired. Asher's premise is that in the UK the vast majority of day to day parenting is still left to women and that, as a result, mothers tend to become marginalised in the work place while fathers are sidelined at home and children short-changed.

In the UK girls outperform boys at school and enter the workforce with an expectation that they can get as far as men. Following the birth of their first child however a huge number of women find, if they return to work at all, that their careers have to adapt to fit around childcare and household management. In contrast, few fathers in the UK change their working patterns in any significant way. On the contrary, if anything, they often increase their effort at work to provide for their families. This, argues Asher, is a situation implicitly supported by government and employer attitudes from the moment a woman becomes pregnant.

While maternity leave in the UK has become more generous over recent years, paternity leave and paternity pay remain laughably inadequate. As dads are forced back to work, it is the mother who gets to really understand the child and who typically becomes more expert at addressing its needs. When maternity leave ends it then seems natural to many families that it is the mother who considers reducing her hours or stopping work altogether. Asher acknowledges that this suits some women but argues that the impact for many and for society as a whole is strongly disadvantageous, reducing financial independence and the opportunities for self expression and professional fulfilment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awesome!!!!!!!!! 2 Dec 2012
I guess the title I gave this review sums it up really. I have read a few Feminist books but a number of these were written some time ago and were therefore somewhat out-dated in their views or were written by American authors focussing on the US (not a bad thing of course, but there are differences between the situation in the UK and that of women in the US).

I picked this book up and thought it looked interesting- not only is it fairly recent but it is also written with a focus on the situation of women in the UK. Rebecca is a good writer who keeps the reader engaged throughout, she also provides sound evidence for her arguments with no shortage of references.

The topic of modern motherhood is an exceptionally important one as it effects all of us, whether we are parents or not. This is an area where we must continue pushing for equality for men and women. This book makes a solid argument for an equal society (NB: she does not man bash at all - which is great as I would have binned the book if she did!)and is an excellent contribution to an important discussion that we as a society need to engage in.

This is a great book, I cannot recommend it enough!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed the way my partner and I do things 15 Nov 2011
By Liv
Very motivating book, albeit a bit ranting at times. It is really well researched, at the same time as it was quite emotional as I recognised myself so well. But it gave my partner and I some fantastic ideas on how we can make our relationship more equal in the face of being parents, without sending our child to nursery full time. My partner is handing in his application for flexible working today, and I hope to increase my hours at work. I hope more people read this book and realise the value of work and childcare for both parents.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars witty & insightful 3 April 2011
I loved this book (and stayed up late into the night reading it)!
Having read a couple of reviews, I expected it to be fairly insightful but what surprised me was how readable it was. Actually, it was pretty funny in parts and I loved the bits where the author explains her own conflicted feelings and experiences. It helped me make sense of the disconnect between my expectations as a proffessional woman and my experience as a new mother. As a thirty-something, my own mother's generation fought to ensure I had choices beyond her own horizons and I worked bloody hard to reach a level in my profession where I could realise my own ambitions before starting a family (which proffession, incidentally, is legal so I knew my rights and shouldn't be worried about telling my boss I wanted 12 months maternity leave, right? Ha!). So, this book really resonated with my personal experience.
I was interested, on a proffessional and personal level, in how other countries handle these issues (how come our German and Scandinavian neighbours always seem to have a more balanced perspective on these things than us Brits?) and there were lots of really useful comparisons with other European countries. It wasn't just the bald facts and figures or legal rights (interesting though this was); the author recorded the personal experiences of various mothers and fathers in her case studies. Actually, that was one of things that I really liked about the book; it wasn't some "woe is me" female diatribe but very balanced; she considered the male perspective and experience just as much as the female one (so much so that my husband is now reading this book!).
I don't know whether to be depressed by the book's compelling argument that inequality is alive and well (to the detriment of men as well as women) or encouraged by the fact that there are writers out there who are not afraid to confront this issue with wit and refreshing honesty.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good start to acknowledging and addressing the issues
I thought this book was very promising because it does actually acknowledge the 'shattering' experience of being a mother of a baby and very young child in a first world country. Read more
Published 15 days ago by val
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading for everyone
I had the same ideas before purchasing this book, but after reading it, I am 100 percent sure, that this is the book for every woman to read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lemongrass
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Interesting
This book is well written in a journalistic, story-telling style. It was a good read and deals with the issues that real mothers face today when they become a mother for the first... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Moni Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars so true
So far i have only read a few chapters but already i recognise so much. Just waiting for the solution;
Published 14 months ago by minxie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
Really enjoyed this book and have recommended it to many of my mummy friends. As a recent role change to stay at home mum from professional woman, I found this very interesting and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by bookworm81
5.0 out of 5 stars Even More Feminist than Me
Fantastic read. It provided me with real eye-opening insights into the situation almost universally experienced by mothers in today's age. Read more
Published 19 months ago by artheart71
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Really fascinating read - she has also researched the book thoroughly (all classes, all parts of the UK) so it gives a pretty true impression of how women feel. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2012 by Ian E
1.0 out of 5 stars Unvanquished, Communism returns to be welcomed by idiots who never...
Communism wasn't much of a success and led to much human misery. Feminism is a similar destructive invention from Central Europe that promises to yield as much grief. Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2012 by Gordon Logan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for book groups!
We read this excellent book for our book group and it provided 8 women with very different family/ work dynamics with excellent food for thought for a 3 hour plus discussion. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by Jo W
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps you understand societal pressure so you can forge a different...
You have to read `Shattered'. It's a fantastic examination of unequal parenting in the UK. This book arms you with knowledge about all the subtle (eg Royal College of Midwives)... Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by katekindleaddict
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