Today women outperform men at school and university. They make a success of their early careers and enter into relationships on their own terms. So it might seem that equality is in the bag. But once they have children, their illusions are swiftly shattered. Becoming a mother is a tremendously rewarding experience, but for all the current talk of shared parenting, women still find themselves bearing primary responsibility for bringing up their children, to the detriment of everything else in their lives.

Fathers, conversely, are dragooned into the role of main earner, becoming semi-detached from their families. Both men and women put up too little resistance to this pressure, shying away from asking what is really best for themselves and their children. The consequences of this enduring inequality in the home reach far beyond individuals and into society as a whole. A radical new approach is needed if we want to raise our children fairly and happily.

Ranging from antenatal care and maternity leave, to work practices, relationship dynamics and beyond, Shattered exposes the inequalities perpetuated by the state, employers and the parenting industry and suggests imaginative ways forward to achieve more balanced and fulfilling lives.

Rebecca Asher draws on the experiences of mothers and fathers in the UK and around the world in setting out a manifesto for a new model of family life. Engaging and provocative, Shattered is a call to arms for a revolution in parenting.

Further reading

These are the books I especially enjoyed reading when researching Shattered:

  • Madonna and Child. Towards a New Politics of Motherhood by Melissa Benn
  • Fatherhood Reclaimed. The Making of the Modern Father by Adrienne Burgess
  • A Life’s Work. On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk.
  • The rocking of the cradle and the ruling of the world by Dorothy Dinnerstein.
  • The Mommy Myth. The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels.
  • Life After Birth by Kate Figes.
  • Couples. The Truth by Kate Figes.
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.
  • The Bitch in the House. 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage edited by Cathi Hanauer.
  • Making Sense of Motherhood. A Narrative Approach by Tina Miller.
  • Making Sense of Fatherhood. Gender, Caring and Work by Tina Miller.
  • Becoming a Mother by Ann Oakley
  • The Ann Oakley Reader by Ann Oakley
  • One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power
  • Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution by Adrienne Rich.
  • Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf.

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