- 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.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Seemingly disenchanted on the future of women in politics, Thatcher was quoted as saying, "I don't think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime," during a 1973 television appearance.
Thatcher soon proved herself wrong. While the Conservative Party lost power in 1974, Thatcher became a dominant force in her political party. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, beating out Heath for the position. With this victory,
Thatcher became the first woman to serve as the opposition leader in the House of Commons. England was in a time of economic and political turmoil, with the government nearly bankrupt, employment on the rise and conflicts with labor unions. This instability helped return Conservatives to power in 1979. As party leader, Thatcher made history in May 1979, when she was appointed Britain's first female prime minister.
As prime minister, Thatcher battled the country's recession by initially raising interest rates to control inflation. She was best known for her destruction of Britain's traditional industries through her attacks on labor organizations such as the miner's union, and for the massive privatization of social housing and public transport. One of her staunchest allies was U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a fellow conservative. The two shared similar right-wing, pro-corporate political philosophies.
Thatcher faced a military challenge during her first term. In April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland islands. This British territory had long been a source of conflict between the two nations, as the islands are located off the coast of Argentina. Taking swift action, Thatcher sent British troops to the territory to retake the islands in what became known as the Falklands War. Argentina surrendered in June 1982.
In her second term, from 1983 to 1987, Thatcher handled a number of conflicts and crises, the most jarring of which may have been the assassination attempt against her in 1984. In a plot by the Irish Republic Army, she was meant to killed by a bomb planted at the Conservative Conference in Brighton in October. Undaunted and unharmed, Thatcher insisted that the conference continue, and gave a speech the following day.
As for foreign policy, Thatcher met with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, in 1984. That same year, she signed an agreement with the Chinese government regarding the future of Hong Kong. Publicly, Thatcher voiced her support for Ronald Reagan's air raids on Libya in 1986 and allowed U.S. forces to use British bases to help carry out the attack.
Returning for a third term in 1987, Thatcher sought to implement a standard educational curriculum across the nation and make changes to the country's socialized medical system. However, she lost a lot of support due to her efforts to implement a fixed rate local tax—labeled a poll tax by many since she sought to disenfranchise those who did not pay it. Hugely unpopular, this policy led to public protests and caused dissention within her party.
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!
Notable Female Leaders 28 people in this group
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.
London Cultural Renaissance - Cultural Icons: 1980s 19 people in this group
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.
Celebrity Death Hoaxes 51 people in this group