Wonder Woman

The myth of ‘having it all’

It’s your choice, right?
Whether or not to have a career and children?

An intensely personal column about the pain of childlessness, written by Virginia for The Age newspaper in 2003, met an explosive response across Australian media. It was a time when national fertility rates had fallen to an historic low and the issue of a woman’s choice between career or family was a red-hot debate waiting to happen. Virginia lit the fuse. 

Following a furious year of political and public debate, she set out to help heal the wound by thoroughly investigating the data and evidence around women’s fertility choices. Virginia’s book, Wonder Women, the myth of ‘having it all’ (Allen & Unwin), was born of its time. It was launched by Julia Gillard, at the National Press Club, in a live broadcast on the ABC in May 2005.

Can today’s women really ‘have it all’, or have we all been duped? When did the superwomen of the 80s become the wondering women of the new millennium? And where have all our achievements left us?

When Virginia Haussegger, frustrated and angry about her own childlessness, wrote an opinion piece for The Age newspaper she could never have anticipated the Pandora’s Box she was opening. By ‘outing’ her own personal pain and confusion Virginia unwittingly set off a heated public debate about a raft of issues including whether feminism had failed women, where it had left us when it came to having children, and whether indeed ‘career women’ should simply quit their whingeing and shut up about the whole damn business. After all it was their choice … wasn’t it?

Virginia pulls no punches as she explores just how the big choices we make in our twenties, thirties and forties about career, love, sex, fertility and motherhood ultimately shape and define us—whether we like it or not. In this passionate, compelling, thoroughly researched and at times confronting exploration Virginia reflects on her own life and those of the many women who have let her into their hearts and minds, as she examines the impact these major, life-altering decisions are having on individuals and on society as a whole.

Wonder Woman is about real choices – or the lack thereof, the women being forced to make them and how these choices will shape our future.