Margaret Thatcher held many esteemed titles: wife, mother, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Iron Lady, and most successful UK politician of her time. Yet Hillary and Chelsea Clinton don’t want to add “gutsy woman” to her list.

In an interview earlier this week with the BBC podcast “Emma Barnett Gets Answers,” Hillary and Chelsea Clinton promote and expound upon their co-authored book, “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience,” which was published last month. During said interview, Emma Barnett, who was born and still lives in the UK, explained to the two that “it’s quite striking from a British perspective going through this book that… [they] haven’t included Margaret Thatcher,” since they described the novel as a testimony to “women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.” 

Barnett continued, asking, “did [they] think to include [Margaret Thatcher], because surely she comes to mind with ‘gutsy women,’ even if you didn’t like her.” Hillary was quick to respond. She stated that Thatcher “does, but she doesn’t fit the other part of the definition in [their] opinion, which… is knocking down barriers for others and trying to make a positive difference” for women.

Although they evaluated a plethora of stories of the impact of women and the diverse ways by which they impact other women, the Clinton mother-daughter duo obviously missed the art of Thatcher’s story. Unlike so many others, the Iron Lady actually demonstrated how women can be effective and powerful like men, thus proving equality; rather than viewing female success as an exception or a rarity, Margaret Thatcher actually normalized it.

So yes, Thatcher did not shy away from denouncing the organized feminist movement—she even compared it to poison—but she was is no doubt one of the most influential women in politics of all time. In fact, she was a remarkable example of gender equality. Margaret Thatcher once famously said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” Her forthright leadership and decisive mindset taught a generation of women that a woman can yield power in a manner just as effective and stable as any man. Yet again, the Clintons are blind to the significance of being a living example of activism as opposed to only talking about it.

Though she is often criticized for her lack of female representation in her cabinet, Margaret Thatcher defended her decisions, saying, “…a woman must rise through merit. There must be no discrimination” and therefore she would not promote unqualified women solely for a pretty ratio. Honestly, who can blame her? Success should be earned. It is not a handout for show, in which case it loses its worth. Thatcher was an advocate for true equality, not a temporarily gratifying facade.

It’s no wonder why Margaret Thatcher earned the title “Iron Lady,” and indeed she again confirmed its accuracy when she wore this nickname with pride rather than embarrassment. She was undeniably pro-woman and a visionary. Margaret Thatcher’s career was an escapade of “knocking down barriers.” If becoming the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom isn’t satisfactory enough, she also was a member of the House of Lords and the Order of the Garter, among other roles and titles.

Surely Thatcher’s efforts for accessible education, employment, and individual liberties helped women just as much as they helped men. So as far as “making a positive difference” for women, Thatcher’s astounding political success as well as her leadership for economic revival are just the start to her fitting the “definition” of impact that Hillary deemed admirable.

It is peculiar to realize that only a few years ago Hillary Clinton proclaimed loud and clear the necessity of having a female president, yet Barnett’s argument that her experience of growing up as a young girl in the UK and being inspired “knowing there had been a female Prime Minister” was apparently unimportant to Hillary. This was not the first time that the Iron Lady was excluded from the crowd of conventionally “gutsy” women. It likely won’t be the last. Yet, it takes real guts to stand firm in your values despite a skeptical and somewhat cynical audience, as Thatcher always did. No matter how much Hillary may underestimate the impact and hustle of Margaret Thatcher, we are reminded:

“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.” – Margaret Thatcher

Lucy H
CABINET MEMBER

Lucy Hutchinson is a proud Pennsylvanian and daughter of Christ. She is a junior at Washington & Jefferson College and she aspires to attend medical school through the military to eventually become a dermatologist. When she’s not advocating for Israel, sun protection, agriculture, or GMOs, she’s probably studying or waiting around for her 21st birthday so she can obtain her concealed carry permit. (Not sponsored by Chick-fil-A but should be.)