Margaret Thatcher: UK’s First Female Prime Minister

Margaret Thatcher (Hilda Roberts) was born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham England to a conservative Methodist family.

Margaret Thatcher: UK's First Female Prime Minister 1

Margaret Thatcher (Hilda Roberts) was born in October 13, 1925, in Grantham England to a conservative Methodist family. She was exposed to politics early when her father was their hometown mayor, In 1947, she graduated with a chemistry degree from Oxford University and began working as a research chemist.

Two years later she ran for a Dartford parliamentary seat though she lost. She impressed crowds with powerful speeches. She also met Dennis Thatcher whom she married in 1951.

Margaret Thatcher: UK's First Female Prime Minister 4

She briefly studied law before giving birth to a twin in 1953. By 1959, Thatcher was back in politics as a member of Parliament in the House of Commons. After two years she was promoted to the undersecretary for pensions and national insurance. In 1964 the Conservatives lost control of the government. In the meantime, Thatcher took a spot in the opposition’s shadow cabinet. She continued to broaden her political horizons by traveling through the United States.

She was eventually promoted to the Education Minister of the shadow cabinet. The conservatives regained power in 1970. Thatcher became secretary of State for education and science and made some unpopular budget cuts. After axing a school milk program, she earned the nickname Thatcher milk snatcher. She quickly grew disillusioned with the plight of women in politics. By 1974, the Conservatives have voted out again in favour of the Liberal Labour Party. Thatcher’s prominence as a conservative increased and on February 11th, 1975 she became the party leader and the first female opposition leader in UK history.

Margaret Thatcher then polished her image and delivery to sure respect. In 1976, she was nicknamed Iron Lady by a Russian newspaper for her ardent stance against communism.

Meanwhile, the chaotic British political climate included labor union issues, increasing unemployment, and financial difficulties. These problems helped conservatives seize power in 1979. History was made again when on May 4th of that year Margaret Thatcher was appointed Britain’s first female prime minister. Thatcher immediately made tough decisions in an attempt to control the ongoing recession. she raised interest rates, cut social spending, and privatized industries like gas, water, and electricity.

The economy only recovered during her second term in 1987. Her stances on issues like immigration and unions made Thatcher a controversial leader and this led to fluctuating approval ratings during her tenure. As prime minister, she aligned herself with US President Ronald Reagan as the pair shared similar right-wing viewpoints. Thatcher faced a high profile international challenge in April 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, though they were a part of Britain these islands were located near Argentina and this caused tension between the two nations. The UK ultimately won the Falklands war in June of that year after Thatcher dispatched military forces to the islands. the beginning of her second term in 1983 was exemplified by a long and violent British mining strike.

The next year, Thatcher barely escaped assassination by the Irish Republic Army in response her unfazed showing after that attempt only increased her popularity during her second term foreign policy matters the included the cold war and the US bombings of Libya her unprecedented third term began in 1987. Thatcher’s introduction of an unpopular tax lost her support within her party and in the public in 1989, she was challenged for party leadership ultimately she left office on November 22nd, 1990, and was replaced as prime minister by john major.

Thatcher then returned to her MP job before retiring in 1992 that year she was also appointed to the house of Lords. following her political career, she wrote several books and toured as a public speaker. her lecturing career ended in 2002 after she suffered a series of small strokes and her husband of over 50 years passed away the next year. in 2011 thatcher’s life story made it to the big screen with Meryl Streep taking the role of the iron lady. Thatcher was a controversial British figure. her economic performance was praised while her social policies were divisive however Margaret  Thatcher undoubtedly changed the political landscape of the united kingdom forever.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Margaret Thatcher 


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