The Features that Make the Difference

Margaret Thatcher was the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Margaret was a seminal leader. She was born on October 13 of 1925, in Grantham, England, to a family of grocers.

Amy Woodson-Boulton, Professor of History at Loyola Marymount University, told Biography, "Thatcher learned from her father who was a conservative politician himself always to say what you believe in no matter what other people think."

She attended Oxford University and graduated in 1946 with a degree in chemistry. Margaret worked for four years as a chemist, and during her free time, she studied law and subsequently passed the bar.

In 1950, Thatcher made her first bid for parliament and lost. The following year, she married Dennis Thatcher and raised a family with twins' birth in 1953.

According to the Professor, "Margaret Thatcher won a seat in parliament in 1959. She began a meteoric rise in terms of being able to articulate her particular vision. She felt the state had become too involved in the economy and too involved in individuals lives."

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Thatcher led a variety of ministry positions in government over the years. In 1975, she became head of her party and was elected prime minister in 1979.

Donal O'Sullivan, Associate Professor of History at California State University, told the source, "Margaret Thatcher was for the free market, for free capitalism, and against communism, in all sorts and forms. In the 1970s, she accused the Soviet Union of being bent on world domination."

The soviet press dubbed Thatcher the iron lady after a fiercely anti-communist speech she gave in 1976, and the name remained with her.

"She had a very strong set of principles if you look at the Falkland war, no one ever thought that she would send the British navy halfway around the world to claim these island that very few people had ever heard of, but she did that, and she won the war" stressed Tom Brokaw, Best-Selling Author and Special Correspondent at NBC News.

The iron lady gave the country at that point a sense of pride again. The Falkland Islands were important to Margaret for the basic issue of sovereignty. If there is a part of the world under the British flag, the British military will defend it as long as people in that land claimed British citizenship.

According to the experts, Margaret Thatcher was relatively unpopular before the war, and afterward, she won a landslide victory. During Thatcher's third term, her attempt to implement a fixed tax that was hugely unpopular led her to her eventual resignation in November of 1990.

She then went on to write a series of memoirs and give public appearances and speaking engagements.

Thatcher's life story was turned into a major motion picture in 2011 starring Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady." Margaret Thatcher was Britain's longest-serving prime minister in more than 100 years. She led her country out of a recession through war and left an indelible mark on British and global politics.

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