Women frustrated as the 'have it all' dream dies

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The Independent Online

More than 30 years after Cosmopolitan magazine told its readers they could "have it all", modern women say they now feel underpaid, overworked and sexually frustrated.

More than 30 years after Cosmopolitan magazine told its readers they could "have it all", modern women say they now feel underpaid, overworked and sexually frustrated.

A survey of women has found that the feminist ideals of the 1970s have been replaced by a generation of disillusioned and depressed females.

Only a quarter of women feel they are living the life they thought they would be when growing up, while 84 per cent say they are not fulfilling their potential. Two thirds of those questioned have full-time jobs, but 60 per cent of them want to give up work.

Nine out of 10 women surveyed for Top Santé magazine, who had an average age of 38, believe their gender has too many roles to juggle in modern life. Two thirds say they feel like they are on a constant treadmill of work and chores.

More than half of the 2,000 women questioned are also unfulfilled in their sexual and social lives. Unsurprisingly, given this level of dissatisfaction, the emotion that women feel most on a daily basis is frustration.

Marina Gask, editor of Top Santé, said: "The 'have it all' dream has turned into a 'do it all' nightmare. Women are bombarded with lifestyle images of perfectly proportioned celebrities who seem to have everything, without much effort. In reality, most women struggle to look after their family and hold down a demanding job to make ends meet.

"Despite their hard work, many women are up to their necks in debt and they feel emotionally drained, financially unsuccessful and unfulfilled sexually and socially. They are going through a lifestyle crisis and want to change their lives." Rich celebrities who extol the virtues of working motherhood and multi-tasking in glossy magazines have only added to the ordinary woman's frustration, according to the survey.

The women were also asked to name their most hated female role models. Victoria Beckham topped the list, followed by the glamour model Jordan and Cherie Blair.

Madonna and Margaret Thatcher, both notoriously workaholic mothers, came second and third respectively in the league of the most liked female role models. But the most admired women were their own mothers.

Catherine Zeta-Jones was voted the most beautiful woman in the world, while Brad Pitt was agreed overall to be the best- looking male.

But the Hollywood ideal of beauty has left nine out of 10 British women feeling unhappy about their bodies. One in four says that she intends to have cosmetic surgery, with breast enlargements top of the surgical shopping list.

Plagued by self-doubt and dissatisfaction, six out of 10 women say they turn to alcohol to "relax and unwind", while 74 per cent find solace in comfort eating.

Decades of campaigns for equality in the workplace and at home have still not succeeded in closing the gender gap, it appears. Nine out 10 women who have partners said they still do the bulk of household chores, while 81 per cent of mothers say they have to take time off work if their child is sick, rather than the father.

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