The life of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister
In The Iron Lady, Director Phyllida Lloyd strives not for historical accuracy in this biopic about Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, played by Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep. Instead, Lloyd tells the inspiring story of how an oppressed lower middle class girl worked her way up in a male dominated society.
The film opens with Margaret Thatcher buying milk in a convenience store. unrecognisable and pushed around in the mad scramble to the counter, it symbolises the movie’s central theme—the personal price Thatcher paid for power. In her quest to, as a woman, lead a male-dominated country, she led with perseverance, a fighting spirit and dignity—but at the trade-off of her family.
Though power drove Thatcher’s life as a Prime Minister, she later lost it both in society and her family. In her old age, she became more than just lonely. Estranged from her two children, she was left to confide in her dead husband’s ghost. She was isolated from society and in her own mind and body as she suffered from dementia.
Nevertheless, Thatcher must be admired for her determination to defy the status quo, and clinging on to another one of her esteemed values, meritocracy — her belief that hard work will be rewarded with success. She proved that instead of spending her whole life being dominated as society expected a woman to be, she could change that.
As a nation’s leader in tough times and especially as a lady politician, she lived by this: “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny”. Indeed, her dreams and character shaped her destiny as one of the most famous women leaders in history, and later as a leader in recluse.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny”. –Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher embodied the notion that “if you want to change the country, lead it”. Even though she did not set out to empower women, Thatcher became a symbol and inspiration to women across the world. it could be said that she has paved the way for women leaders, from Burma’s Opposition Politician Aung San Suu Kyi to Liberia’s first woman President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf— women who are standing up for their beliefs, paying the price for it, and living to see that it is worth it.
Article by Charles Phang