Jill Kirby is a writer and policy analyst, and was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, 2007-2011.
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” So Margaret Thatcher advised the Townswomen's Guild in a speech she gave in 1965. Ten years later, she became the first woman to lead the Conservative Party. The rest, as they say, is history – history made by a woman. Baroness Thatcher certainly lived up to her own famous aphorism, proving that a woman in politics could indeed get things done; she knew when it was time to cut through the chat and make it happen.
As a woman in a man's world (and there is no question that politics was dominated by men) gave Margaret Thatcher particular strengths; in my view, being female was an important factor in her success. As I will explain later in this piece, however, I believe it was also an ingredient in her downfall.