1st Edition

The Superwoman Myth Can Contemporary Women Have It All Now?

    136 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    136 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The book begins by raising a thoughtful question, "Can women have it all, family, work and everything in between?" If yes, then are women ‘superwomen’? More importantly, what or who is a ‘superwoman’? In other words, this book discusses the role of contemporary women in today’s modern career world and its myriad of challenges, and in turn explores the nuanced role of millennial women and provides insights into how women juggle demands at home and at work; family and career management.

    Using case studies from interviews with two hundred women, the authors draw on data from women themselves to explore how they navigate their daily lives to achieve work-life balance. This book will motivate readers to reframe their roles at home and in the workplace and hopefully help them reclaim control in their career/family journeys. This book is also an essential guide to thought leadership for women in leadership positions or aspiring to be in leadership positions. Finally, this book will demystify gender roles in the workplace and at home, enabling women of all ages and backgrounds to embark on their career with confidence.

    This book will motivate younger women who are embarking on their first career and looking to develop the inner leadership that helps them thrive in life.

    Introduction: The motivations behind this book 1. Becoming 'superwoman' or not? 2. Contemporary women, can we even have it all? 3. The changing nature of work and the impact on women 4. Ensuring well-being 5. Rushing and reaching breaking point 6. Diversity 7. The contemporary landscape for women 8. "You should have asked" - Do we still have a long way to go? 9. Female leadership 10. The end. Or the beginning.


    Jennifer Loh is an Associate Professor in Management, Deputy Head of School (DHoS), and the Associate Dean, Research (Higher Degree by Research) at Canberra Business School (University of Canberra), Australia.

    Raechel Johns is the Head of the Canberra Business School at the University of Canberra, Australia.

    Rebecca English is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

    "Why the Superwoman creed, to cook the proverbial perfect apricot chicken while raising perfectly adorable, well-adjusted children, while also poking a head through pot holes (or man holes) in the proverbial career glass ceiling, is still a ‘thing’ and a yoke around a woman’s neck … is somewhat of a mystery. But clearly it is. Both a yoke, and a modern day ‘thing’. As this timely book demonstrates, even super smart millennial women are bitten by the Superwoman bug. And not just them, but the two hundred or so women the authors have interviewed for this quirky and personal examination of work-life balance and wellbeing. Following a trail of evidence-based research, Loh, Johns and English attempt to answers that riddle shaped question by tackling it from a number of data rich angles. But ultimately, perhaps the strongest pathway to wellbeing is found in the numerous vignettes of ‘tools and tactics’ discussed by the authors, which demonstrate that solutions to women’s ‘life balance’ challenges are as diverse and varied as women themselves." Virginia Haussegger AM, Australian journalist and 2019 ACT Australian of the Year

    "It’s been some decades since ‘You can’t have it all’ became ‘Girls can do anything!’, but as this new book makes crystal clear, the reality for contemporary women has not significantly changed from that of our mothers. We are in the midst of one of the great technological transformations, and as the authors show, now is a fine time to craft new paths that might bridge that tired old gender divide. Mixing personal stories with national statistics, they offer an informed and accessible account of the past and present, and of possible futures that are woven through with strands of optimism. Whether considering the gig economy, intersectional identities, educational options, women’s rights or political constraints, they illuminate the bollards and the bypasses that characterize the twenty-first century context for women as a group, as a congress of separate groups, and as economic and political actors in the current world." – Distinguished Professor Jen Webb, Dean, Graduate Research (University of Canberra), Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice

    "‘The Superwoman Myth’ is a unique investigation of the lives of modern women. It unflinchingly probes the complex realities of our messy, pressured lives, seeking to peel back the cliched idioms and ideals and assumptions of work and motherhood, to discover what actually lies beneath. In an accessible yet academically rigorous way, this book seeks to answer the question: Do we really have to do everything, all at once? And if we don’t, what other pathways can we forge? The tome includes practical strategies for navigating the maze of domestic and work life, questioning the status quo and making change. Many of these are gleaned from real life women across a spectrum of cultures and identities and backgrounds." – Ginger Gorman, author of 'Troll Hunting' and editor of BroadAgenda

    "This book investigates the myriad of issues around what it means to be a woman navigating the complexities of everyday life. It presents the stories of a diverse group of Australian women regarding the challenges, and the issues they are confronting on a daily basis. Through these multiple voices, practical strategies are presented regarding how to understand and manage the competing demands on their time and lives. This is a deeply insightful book you can dip into or read from cover to cover; it draws on evidence and translates it into practical strategies. It is a guide full of good ideas to help women understand and participate actively in contemporary society." – Emeritus Professor Judyth Sachs, Former Provost (Macquarie University)