Margaret Thatcher

Huda Khan and Alex Skelley

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When it comes to women’s history, there’s no one cooler than Margaret Thatcher. She’s described as a funny, charming, and exceptional leader, and was the first female prime minister of the UK. She led movements, influenced people, knew many influential figures, and lived a great story, so let’s learn all about it.

Born on October 13, 1925 in Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a local businessman, Alfred Roberts. She went to Grantham Girls’ High school, a grammar school, and lived above her family operated grocery store. Her father was a member of the town’s council, and from there, she found her interest in politics. Thatcher was later accepted to Oxford University, where she studied chemistry. She was lucky enough to get Dorothy Hodgkin as her teacher, a nobel-prize winning scientist. Thatcher was the president of the Conservative Association at the university, and she went on to work as a research chemist in Colchester.

In the 1950 and 1951 British elections, she was a conservative candidate for the Labour seat of Dartford. She attracted attention as the youngest candidate, as well as the only female one, but lost in both elections. Two months after losing the elections, she married Denis Thatcher on December 13, 1951.

In 1959, she won a Parliament seat. She then went on to move up in Parliament, and started to gather attention, and started being mentioned as a possible first female Prime Minister. She became Prime Minister on May 4, 1979, and said: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony; where there is error, may we bring truth; where there is doubt, may we bring faith; and where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

As Prime Minister, she became a great leader, and was successful in many aspects of the job. She based her economic policy on economists such as Milton Friedman, who’s written multiple books, and has contributed many economic theories and research to the field. During the first half of her tenure in office, the country’s GDP grew by 23.3%. Thatcher started policies that are pro-privatization, and anti-union in attempts to help the economy. Furthermore, she was instrumental in passing the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, and she took a hard stance against the Soviet Union, and strengthened ties with the US. However, Thatcher faced many militaristic challenges during her first term. For instance, in April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, and Thatcher sent British troops to retake the lands, which was later became the Falkland Wars. In June 1982, Argentina surrendered and gave back the lands.

Thatcher handled many conflicts maturely, including the assassination attempt against her in 1984. In October, she was meant to be killed by a bomb that was planted in  the Conservative Conference in Brighton, plotted by the Irish Republic Army. However, Thatcher bravely asked for the conference to be carried on. She even gave a speech the following day.  

In addition to her success in office, she had a great personality. Charming, funny, and personable, she was a very interesting figure. One of the most interesting things about her was that she was friends with Ronald Reagan. Not in the way that foreign leaders are friendly to one another, but like actual friends. She also tended to bring out her wit and humor on many occasions. For instance, she once said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” Another time, when speaking about socialism, she gave us the following gem: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Not all her quotes were funny though, and some were just deep and purely inspiring. She once said, “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.”

A truly great leader, with a flare, Margaret Thatcher is a legend. She was the first female Prime Minister in the UK, one of the most successful politicians in the history of the UK, and a close friend of Ronald Reagan. She was funny, charming, and inspiring, making her one of the greatest women ever to live.