From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/09/margaret-thatcher-no-feminist
One woman’s success does not mean a step forward for women. Far from ‘smashing the glass ceiling’, Thatcher made it through and pulled the ladder up after her
She was, of course, the first and so far only female British prime minister, Jon Snow reiterated on Monday night, insinuating that this achievement should in general be celebrated, never mind the specifics of her leadership.
“Yes and that was one of the many weird things about her,” smirked Alexei Sayle. In the pantheon of this comedian’s attacks on Thatcher, it was a retort that probably won’t be treasured longer than the best lines from The Young Ones.
This was hardly the first or even the worst example of a dig at Thatcher tinged so needlessly with sexism. Of all the things to criticise Thatcher for, calling her out for being a woman seems like something of a wasted bullet. Yet despite the attempts of some columnists to claim otherwise, Thatcher can’t really be seen as “a warrior in the sex war”, let alone as “the ultimate women’s libber“. Far from “smashing the glass ceiling“, she was the aberration, the one who got through and then pulled the ladder up right after her. On the same edition of Channel 4 News, Louise Mensch named only three successful female politicians as part of her defence of Thatcher – and only one of those was a Conservative.
In truth, Thatcher is one of the clearest examples of the fact that a successful woman doesn’t always mean a step forward for women. In 11 years, Thatcher promoted only one woman to her cabinet, preferring instead to elevate men whom Spitting Image memorably and, in certain instances, accurately, described as “vegetables”. You may not be a fan of Edwina Currie but, really, was she any worse than John Gummer? “You would see MPs who came into any politics after I had and who were no better than me being promoted over my head,” said Currie this week. “She had been offered the chance to get on and effectively she then refused to offer it to other people.”
As Matthew Parris evocatively put it in Monday’s Times, “She rather liked men (preferring our company, perhaps, to that of women), [but] she thought us the weaker sex.”
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/09/margaret-thatcher-no-feminist