“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:
— BBC Woman's Hour (@BBCWomansHour) May 1, 2019
Hundreds of people responded on Twitter, telling BBC Woman’s Hour what they thought. And t
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.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?