Margaret Thatcher: Feminist icon?


“I hate feminism. It is poison,” she reportedly told her adviser Paul Johnson.

BY HELEN LEWIS PUBLISHED 08 APRIL 2013

Margaret Thatcher in 1975. Photo: Getty
Margaret Thatcher in 1975. Photo: Getty

There will be much discussion about Margaret Thatcher’s role as Britain’s first female prime minister in the coming days, and whether she can be considered a “feminist icon”. It’s probably worth remembering the Iron Lady’s own thoughts on the subject:

‘The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.’

– as said to her adviser (and one-time New Statesman editor) Paul Johnson, according to a 2011 piece he wrote for The Spectator.

Update: Sky’s political correspondent, Sophy Ridge, has written a blog about Thatcher’s legacy for women, adding two more pertinent quotes:

She sits uneasily as a feminist trailblazer, famously saying “the battle for women’s rights has largely been won” and “I owe nothing to women’s lib”.

The latter quote comes from a 1982 lecture. In full, it runs:

“The battle for women’s rights has largely been won. The days when they were demanded and discussed in strident tones should be gone forever. I hate those strident tones we hear from some Women’s Libbers.”

Tags: Margaret Thatcher  feminism

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