Friday, Feb. 04, 2011

Margaret Thatcher

A woman with high standards and a short temper, Margaret Thatcher was not known as Britain's Iron Lady for nothing. After working as both a chemist and a barrister and having two children, Thatcher saw her long-held political ambitions realized in 1959 when she became a Member of Parliament in the Conservative Party. Twenty years later, she found herself Prime Minister. Serving from 1979 to 1990, she was Europe's first female Prime Minister and the only British Prime Minister to serve three consecutive terms. During her 11 years in the position, she worked — against a fair amount of resistance — to turn Britain into a more entrepreneurial free-market economy. Thatcher advocated for the privatization of state industries, pressed for lower taxes, faced trade unions head-on and reduced social expenditures across the board. Along with Ronald Reagan, her conservative partner across the Atlantic, she is also credited with helping to hasten the demise of the Soviet Union.