The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher's Rise to the British Premiership

  • 2016

The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher's Rise to the British Premiership

Author:
Pamela Williamson
Abstract:

One of Great Britain's most historic events occurred in May of 1979 with the election of the nation's first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher would prove to be Great Britain's longest serving prime minister of the twentieth century holding office from 1979-1990. This was groundbreaking, especially in a major western nation, given that there are a limited number of female leaders in the West. However, while female leaders are not necessarily new or uncommon in Great Britain due to the reigning monarchy, Thatcher's presence in such a key office position was revolutionary especially considering that she had no royal lineage, but instead ascended from the common people. Similarly, Thatcher's historic victory combated the long held norm of male dominance within public office especially considering that she was the candidate of the Conservative Party and that party was not known to champion women. Due to all these circumstances, the mystery of how a common young woman from Grantham achieved enough distinction in the Conservative Party to rise to the highest office in the British government begs the question of, "Why did a conservative female win the 1970 General Election?"