- NAME: Margaret Thatcher
- OCCUPATION: Prime Minister
- BIRTH DATE: October 13, 1925
- DEATH DATE: April 08, 2013
- EDUCATION: Oxford University, Somerville College, Grantham Girls' High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: United Kingdom
- Full Name: Margaret Hilda Thatcher
- Nickname: "Iron Lady"
- AKA: Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven
- Maiden Name: Margaret Hilda Roberts
- AKA: Margaret Thatcher
- AKA: Margaret Roberts
- AKA: Baroness Thatcher
Best Known For
The first female prime minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher was a controversial figurehead of conservative ideology during her time in office.
Journalist Tom Brokaw describes what made Margaret Thatcher "The Iron Lady," and the influence she had on the United States.
Journalist Tom Brokaw describes Margaret Thatcher's political certainty, her no-nonsense demeanor, and what she really thought of Prince Charles.
Michael Shelden, author of the book "Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill", compares Churchill to Margaret Thatcher and describes their influence on 20th century politics.
Watch a short video about Margaret Thatcher and the path she took to become England's first female Prime Minister.
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Born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher became Britain's Conservative Party leader and in 1979 was elected prime minister, the first woman to hold the position. During her three terms, she cut social welfare programs, reduced trade union power and privatized certain industries. Thatcher resigned in 1991 due to unpopular policy and power struggles in her party. She died on April 8, 2013, at age 87.
"One of the things being in politics has taught is that men are not a reasoned or reasonable sex."
"In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman."
"I don't think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime."
Politician and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was born as Margaret Hilda Roberts on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England. Nicknamed the "Iron Lady," Thatcher served as the prime minister of England from 1979 to 1990. The daughter of a local businessman, she was educated at a local grammar school, Grantham Girls' High School. Her family operated a grocery store and they all lived in an apartment above the store. In her early years, Thatcher was introduced to conservative politics by her father, who was a member of the town's council.
A good student, Thatcher was accepted to Oxford University, where she studied chemistry at Somerville College. One of her instructors was the Dorothy Hodgkin, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Politically active in her youth, Thatcher served as president of the Conservative Association at the university. She earned a degree in chemistry in 1947, and went on to work as a research chemist in Colchester. Later, she worked as a research chemist in Dartford.
Two years after graduating from college, Thatcher made her first bid for public office. She ran as the conservative candidate for a Dartford parliamentary seat in the 1950 elections. Thatcher knew from the start that it would be nearly impossible to win the position away from the liberal Labour Party. Still she earned the respect of her political party peers with her speeches. Defeated, Thatcher remained undaunted, trying again the following year, but once more her efforts were unsuccessful. Two months after her loss, she married Denis Thatcher.
In 1952, Thatcher put politics aside for a time to study law. She and her husband welcomed twins Carol and Mark the next year. After completing her training, Thatcher qualified as a barrister, a type of lawyer, in 1953. But she didn't stay away from the political arena for too long. Thatcher won a seat in the House of Commons in 1959, representing Finchley.
Clearly a woman on the rise, Thatcher was appointed parliamentary under secretary for pensions and national insurance in 1961. When the Labour Party assumed control of the government, she became a member of what is called the Shadow Cabinet, a group of political leaders who would hold Cabinet-level posts if their party was in power.
When Conservatives returned to office in June 1970, Thatcher was appointed secretary of state for education and science, and dubbed "Thatcher, milk snatcher," after her abolition of the universal free school milk scheme. She found her position frustrating, not because of all the bad press around her actions, but because she had difficulty getting Prime Minister Edward Heath to listen to her ideas.
Included In These Groups
Aside from their gender, female leaders don't have much else in common. Some have brought peace to troubled lands, while others have strewn discontent. Some have been competent or brilliant, others inept or corrupt. They come from political positions ranging from arch-conservative to ultra-leftist and represent all the world's religions.
Visit BIO's Women's History group for more lists of the world's most fascinating women!
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The 1980s were an important era in London marked by several significant social and historical events. On July 29, 1981 the United Kingdom saw the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The new Princess of Wales soon became a cultural icon—noted for her patronage, charity work and refined sense of fashion. Another history maker, Margaret Thatcher, served as Britain's first female prime minister, soon establishing herself as the authoritative "Iron Lady." Biography.com looks at these powerful women and the many other figures of the '80s, who made their mark on the decade.
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Because they're in the public eye, celebrities are subject to being the butt of many jokes, and on the Internet, it seems the best way to knock 'em dead is to ... well, claim that they're dead. Among the most famous celebrity death hoaxes, favorites include Bill Cosby, Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Sean Connery, Eddie Murphy and Morgan Freeman, among many others.
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