|Margaret Thatcher (13 October 1925 - 8 April 2013)|
She was loved. She was hated. She was loathed. She was lauded. Now she has passed on.
Lady Thatcher muscled her way through a male-dominated political arena, rising through the ranks to become Britain's first, and so far only, female Prime Minister in 1979.
Some of the major policies she implemented created a chasm of opinion. Her government brought the immensely powerful trade unions to their knees, drafted in reforms that encouraged wide-scale privatisation and also fought against the Argentinians after they invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982.
Whatever opinion people hold of her, she was truly a remarkable woman that, against all odds, set her name firmly in annals of history. She was brilliant, sophisticated, eloquent, resolute and had steely determination, which earned her the soubriquet 'Iron Lady'.
Personally, I don't think she would have gotten so far if she had been the 'lovely lady' of politics. Take a thin slice of anecdotal evidence; think about the women you know who are in power. Do they cut the figure of a sweet, maternal lady? No. Does Angela Merkel? Does Cristina De Kirchner?
You can disagree with me, but I think women in power are forced to drape themselves in the carapace of masculine mettle, a steely, ruthless persona and are pushed into appearing more intimidating than they actually are. Without projecting themselves in this way, they won't be able to negotiate the murky waters of male dominated politics.
Was Lady Thatcher a saint? Not at all. But was she a demon in disguise? Certainly not.
LIFE OF MARGARET THATCHER
- 13 October 1925 - Born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire
- 1951 - Married businessman Denis Thatcher
- 1959 - Becomes MP for Finchley
- 1970 - Made minister for education
- 1975 - Elected Conservative leader
- 1979 - Becomes UK's first female prime minister
- 1982 - Falklands War
- 1983 - Elected prime minister for second time
- 1984 - Survives Grand Hotel bombing
- 1984-5 - Takes on unions in Miners' Strike
- 1987 - Wins third term in Downing Street
- 1990 - Resigns as prime minister
- 1992 - Stands down as MP and accepts peerage
- 2002 - Retires from public speaking
- 8 April 2013 - Dies after suffering a stroke