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.

Anti-feminist

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

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us