The British public schools BBC Woman’s Hour on why feminists aren’t ‘conflicted’ over Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher and BBC Woman's Hour logo

BBC Woman’s Hour asked the public why they thought feminists felt “conflicted” about Margaret Thatcher. But as it found out, the public didn’t believe there was much ‘conflict’ at all.

“There is no confliction. Just pure hate.”

On 1 May, BBC Woman’s Hour Twitter account asked the public why Thatcher allegedly left feminists “conflicted” as the UK’s first female prime minister. It also included a handbag emoji:

Hundreds of people responded on Twitter, telling BBC Woman’s Hour what they thought. And through their responses, people effectively argued that the question was absurd.

Read on...

Some said that a link between Thatcher and feminism didn’t even exist:

At the same time, others pointed out that Thatcher actively worked against the interests of women:

Meanwhile, others highlighted Thatcher policies that impacted more than just women:

What came through in the responses was a broad disagreement with BBC Woman’s Hour tweet. Because, as plenty of people pointed out, feminists didn’t feel conflicted over Thatcher as the UK’s first female prime minister at all:

As a result, one woman asked:

The impact of Thatcher’s policies on women

Thatcher’s policies did little to help women. Her attempt to dismantle the welfare state would have hit women hardest of all, for example. Even in 2012, Thatcher suggested children from single-parent families – and mothers, too – should be “put… in the hands of a very good religious organisation”. Nor did she make an effort to change parliament. During her time as prime minister, she appointed just one woman to a senior position: the anti-homosexual Janet Young.


Furthermore, Thatcher was avowedly anti-feminist. In a 1978 interview for local newspaper Hornsey Journal, she explicitly stated:

No, I’m not a feminist.

There is and always has been multiple strands of feminism. They are broadly united by their fight against patriarchal society. It is possible to work towards this goal while rejecting the label. But Thatcher followed up her rejection of feminism with a clear belief in individual merit divorced from social analysis:

Each person is different. Each has their own talents and abilities, and these are the things you want to draw and bring out. You don’t say: “I must get on because I’m a woman, or that I must get on because I’m a man” . You should say that you should get on because you have the combination of talents which are right for the job.

And Thatcher laid out her position even more bluntly when she said:

I hate feminism. It is poison.

Thatcher had no love for feminists. So it’s no surprise that feminists have little but scorn for her.

Featured image via Levan Ramishvili/Flickr and BBC Woman’s Hour/Twitter

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