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Margaret Thatcher in pictures

Updated on June 17, 2015
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Margaret Thatcher - British Prime Minister

I was brought up at time that was very different to today.

Some younger people, thinking about 'the old days' might think that we've come a long way since that time and regarding technology and our knowledge of the world, that's true.

But I had the advantage of growing up at a time when women were strong and this lady was a perfect example.

Sadly, many women today believe that they do not have the strengths and advantages that we older people were brought up with and which were natural to us.

Who are the role models for young girls today? I'm not sure but of the handful of ditzy names that come to mind, I think that I'm glad that I had strong women as my role models and not the celebrities that girls seem to idolize today.

I have a complete disinterest in politics and have no comments to make about whether her policies were right or wrong but what I do know is that she was a fine role model for a generation of girls who themselves became strong women who did not accept that being female had any disadvantages ... on the contrary.

World leaders

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Margaret Thatcher was at one time the most powerful woman in the world, meeting and influencing world leaders. And yet she strongly retained her image as a wife and mother. She showed a generation of girls that a meaningful job and a family aren't mutually exclusive.

It never occurred to girls and young women of my generation to question their own abilities. It wasn't something we thought about consciously - it was simply a fact that we automatically absorbed.

No compromise in style

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Of course, the prime minister was hardly a fashion role model for teenage girls and young women. Largely we scoffed at the somewhat prim look compared to the weird and wonderful fashions we were wearing. But looking back, Margaret Thatcher also taught us, without us realizing it, that a woman in power need not be drab.

When I was very young, politicians were 'old men in grey suits'. This is not a frivolous remark - it was another thing that we subtly learned, that women in power could still be feminine and that we didn't have to emulate men.

Origins don't matter

Source
The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher
The Real Iron Lady: Working with Margaret Thatcher

This remarkable book is a collection of reminiscences from people who worked with The Iron Lady, as she became known due to her particularly strong style of leadership.The author herself was a minister in Thatcher's cabinet. Read what it was like to work with Britain's first woman prime minister. This is a once in a lifetime experience.

 

She didn't come from a privileged background. Her father was a greengrocer called Alf Roberts and her early life was spent living in the apartment above the small grocery store. She was a bright girl and achieved a scholarship to a grammar school. Although she went on to study chemistry at university she also excelled at school at playing the piano and she enjoyed swimming and sports.

This was another valuable lesson to young girls of my generation - where you are born and your early circumstances doesn't mean that in the future you can't mix with powerful politicians and famous entertainers. The photograph above shows her with Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope.

War leader

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When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands - which are under British control - Mrs. Thatcher did not hesitate. She demonstrated to young women that she was a lady with - excuse me - balls. Our impression was that leading a country under normal circumstances is tricky enough but to lead a retaliatory war isn't something that's exclusively in the male domain.

Rights and wrongs of war aside, she developed a sense of British pride at the time and a year after the events, she was re-elected to a second term in office.

Wife and mother

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Husband Denis was often at Margaret's side during her visits overseas. This was yet another lesson we learned - that it was perfectly possible for a husband to play a supporting role in his wife's career, no matter where that career might take her.

I remember that during the same year as the Falklands War, her son Mark had a budding motorsport career and became lost in the Sahara Desert whilst competing in a rally. My dad, a rally driver and a Sahara expert, was interviewed on BBC radio about it and the interviewer asked if he would go to lead the search for Mark. My dad said he would and when I asked him 'can I go too?' he said I could.

I was somewhat irritated when Mark was found before we could set off! However, during the time that her son's whereabouts were unknown she was seen to cry in public - the only time. She was one of the most powerful women in the world but being a mother came first.

The Iron Lady

A Russian journalist was responsible for the name that will be forever associated with Margaret Thatcher - The Iron Lady.

In 1984, the Conservative party, of which Mrs Thatcher was the leader, was holding its annual conference in the seaside town of Brighton. In the early hours, when all the guests were in bed, a one hundred pound bomb, placed by the IRA, almost tore apart the hotel. Five people were killed and many more injured. Many of the injured were members of the government. The Thatchers were uninjured but had a narrow escape.

Girls and young women learned another lesson from Mrs Thatcher as she steadfastly insisted that the conference take place so that she could announce to the world that terrorist attempts to destroy democracy would fail.

She passed away on April 8th, 2013 at the age of eighty seven.

Further reading

Since Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, booksellers reported a huge upsurge in the popularity of this lady. It's many years since she was the prime minister in England and there are many people who have grown up knowing little, if anything, about her. Read more and see why she was a role model for many girls and young women during her ministerial years and about the wife and mother hidden under the Iron Lady exterior..

Earlier days

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Margaret Thatcher in America

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    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      sure do remember her as a leader (I was younger then and started paying attention to world affairs at an early age...one of my big interests) - I hadn't known how she earned the name Iron Lady though til reading this :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks for this story. She was one of my idols. I always admired her strength in dealing with the problems and adversity she met in her job. Besides that, she was a friend to our President Reagan, who was also someone I looked up to. The "Iron Lady" was her nickname, and it fit her. But even iron has its breaking point, as you so aptly told about her crying when she heard her son was missing. I'm glad for this inside look at Margaret Thatcher, may she rest in peace.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: Thank you for reading - yes, a year. Time flies!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      What a career she had. It's a year already. Time flies. Enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: Me too,Nancy. She was a great inspiration to women everywhere. I was going to say 'British' women but I'm sure her influence went beyond the UK.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @David Stone1: Haha Dave - I hate my voice and love my accent at the same time :) Thanks for commenting!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      What an impact she had! Anyway, on a lighter note, for the first time I keep hearing your accent when I'm reading this one.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I always admired her strength and tenacity and you've done a beautiful job of spotlighting those qualities on this page. "The Iron Lady" has always been a favorite of mine.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @gilsoffthehook lm: Thank you!

    • gilsoffthehook lm profile image

      gilsoffthehook lm 5 years ago

      Great lens, a great tribute to a great lady!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Your lens is a great tribute to Margaret Thatcher. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jolou: I'm so glad that others think so too. I am in the minority in my house :) I don't care about her politics - I simply think she was a great role model.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I think she was a great lady. She certainly kept to her principles, regardless of what others thought. That is to be admired.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @dudokdudok: Let's hope so - the world needs more strong women in power.

    • profile image

      dudokdudok 5 years ago

      Absolutely admirable lady who stood for her principles. Many countries today need their 'thatcher'. Are we going to see one somewhere?

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Rosetta Slone: She certainly did. Politics are only relevant in context anyway so she should be remembered as a strong world leader.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      Regardless of her politics and whether you agree with them or not, she was a woman to be admired for achieving as much as she did in a male dominated environment. She achieved some amazing things, and raised twins at the same time.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GardenerDon: Thank you for your kind words about the lens. Yes, it's such a shame that these people are destroying her final dignity.

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 5 years ago

      What a nice idea for a lens. In Canada, during her era, we also had a conservative government & our PM at the time was quite enamoured with her. I do find it sad that people are "celebrating" her passing, that's low.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ian-patrick-716: Haha - yes he was Ian, running the corner shop! Yes, we listen to Radio 4 via the internet and so I'd heard about that. Free speech and everything is all very well, but I do feel sorry for her family. You're right and Maggie herself probably wouldn't care at all but my mum died a few years ago and I wouldn't have wanted people celebrating and having parties because she was dead. My opinion is that people should be a bit more sensitive. An old widow lady died - certainly an old lady that was once considered a menace by a lot of people, but that was a long time ago. It's time to forgive and forget I think.

    • ian-patrick-716 profile image

      ian-patrick-716 5 years ago

      Not sure I totally believed in her policies but something radical had to be done in the UK after the 70's and she certainly got amongst it. I don't know if you get to hear over there but there are a lot of people behaving inappropriately over her death with parties and even the "witch is dead" theme from the Wizard of Oz going into the charts. She was thick skinned so she'd probably find all this amusing but it's not like she was Hitler or Stalin or Navneet Panda or anything.Wasn't Alf Roberts in Corrie

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LynetteBell: Thank you for visiting. She was a wonderful example of a strong woman.

    • Erebos411 profile image

      Erebos411 5 years ago

      Thanks for a great lens on a great lady. I don't think it is important to talk about her politics either. What is important that she was the first female leader of a western country. I was a young woman in Canada of English heritage when she was in power so I feel particularly sad at her passing. Hopefully she will be remembered for her role as a woman in her power who still knew what it meant to be feminine.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      thanks for your lens. She was great lady

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erebos411: That's exactly what I hope too. I was a young woman, like you and I agreed with some of what she did and not with others, but that's not important now. She was a great role model.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Especially by the women who grew up during her time as prime minister. As you say, some people are definitely icons of our youth.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I wont comment on her politics either .. suffice to say that I gleefully went to Parliament on the day she resigned and saw her being driven in as PM for the last time. But It is sad to see these icons of our youth passing away. She wont be forgotten, that's for sure.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @lgOlson: I agree so much Sophie. There is a whole generation of women throughout the world who are strong people because of the influence she had on growing girls, showing us that anything was possible.

    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 5 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I looked up to that woman, and I do not just mourn her passing, I mourn that there are so few, if any, like her in leadership around the world today. I have lost another hero!

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