Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Was Margaret Thatcher a role model for women?

I was invited by AD LIB magazine, the Lib Dems' publication*, to make the case for 'Yes, Margaret Thatcher was a role model for women'. Here's what I wrote

While today’s feminists jump at one another’s throats over the legacy that Margaret Thatcher left, I see very few reasons why feminism should be translated into sheer activism.

That is why I am a firm believer Thatcher was most definitely a role model for women. She certainly was, and still is, mine.

Growing up in Brazil, the manner in which she conducted herself, all the way to the top, set an example to me, all working women of her generation around the world, and the ones that followed.

We should be telling our daughters and granddaughters that we must work together to ensure better opportunities for women, but also that we live in a ruthless world, where you have to stand firm, believe in yourself and not be afraid of anything or anyone. Thatcher taught me these things, not with empty words, vacuous protests, or victimisation, but with very meaningful actions.

Thatcher believed in individual responsibility. She also believed in individual freedom. She believed in the freedom to achieve whatever it was she set out to do, regardless of her gender. She exercised that freedom by choosing to face difficult challenges and tackle them head on – she was unafraid.

Like her, I will never allow men to talk down to me. I will not accept disrespect or condescension. If more women had the guts to show the same fortitude as her when sneered at and doubted, we, as a collective, would be much better off.

I’ve learnt from Thatcher that, as a woman, I should not expect the goodwill of others. I’ve also learnt that no glass ceiling is unbreakable and that the biggest mistake a man already predisposed to doubt a woman can make, is to underestimate her ability and obstinacy.

She taught me that, no matter what others may say, I, and I alone, am the master of my fate.

*I'm not a Lib Dem, just probably the only non-partisan person they could find to write the 'Yes' view on this one

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