Sunday, 9 March 2008

LOCAL VOICES OFFLINE (9)

Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…



Both protagonists of the story behind this speech made the news headlines this week in the UK. Francis Pym passed away this Friday, aged 86. On the same day, Mrs. (now Lady) Thatcher, aged 82, spent a night in hospital for ill health.
As we just celebrated International Women’s Day, a question springs to mind: was the Iron Lady ever taken as an icon by any female gender activist around the world?

FRANCIS PYM was pitchforked into the post of Foreign Secretary during the Falklands crisis. During the election he expressed some doubts about the value of large majorities; and when the Tories won with the largest majority they’d ever had, he was sacked by Mrs. Thatcher. His departure was leaked, probably by Number Ten. Speaking as a backbencher for the first time for 21 years, he did not disguise how much it hurt. He warned Mrs. Thatcher to tackle unemployment and unite the people. (29/6/83)
Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…



Both protagonists of the story behind this speech made the news headlines this week in the UK. Francis Pym passed away this Friday, aged 86. On the same day, Mrs. (now Lady) Thatcher, aged 82, spent a night in hospital for ill health.
As we just celebrated International Women’s Day, a question springs to mind: was the Iron Lady ever taken as an icon by any female gender activist around the world?

FRANCIS PYM was pitchforked into the post of Foreign Secretary during the Falklands crisis. During the election he expressed some doubts about the value of large majorities; and when the Tories won with the largest majority they’d ever had, he was sacked by Mrs. Thatcher. His departure was leaked, probably by Number Ten. Speaking as a backbencher for the first time for 21 years, he did not disguise how much it hurt. He warned Mrs. Thatcher to tackle unemployment and unite the people. (29/6/83)

7 comments:

Cho said...

"was the Iron Lady ever taken as an icon by any female gender activist around the world?"

I think it is fair to say that they do NOW.

Cho said...

"was the Iron Lady ever taken as an icon by any female gender activist around the world?"

I think it is fair to say that they do NOW.

Of course it probably does not matter as much what feminists think. What matters is that moderates in both sexes recognise the vital role she has played in laying the foundations for the current prosperity of the british economy e.g. privatisation, reduced power of labour unions, general reliance on markets, etc.

Nathalie said...

Mmmm, I have doubts that the Iron lady was ever taken as an icon by any female activist around the world !

I don't think she was seen as sympathetic to the women's cause. She was too busy working on the economy. I have never seen her as someone I could relate to as a woman. Rather like someone who had become 'worse than a man' in her ruthlessness.

Cho said...

Nathalie,

Are you suggesting that "female activists" all come in one brand?

I would posit that the "female activist" you have in mind is the "extremely liberal activist". There are many women working in the city and rubbing shoulders with men who are sympathetic to the achievents of Merkel and Thatcher. Yes they are not your typical, dare I say, "homely" ladies, but they do have women who look up to them.

Koluki said...

Hi Cho,

Long time no hear! How was your home visit to Zambia?
Look, I think that in retrospect Thatcher’s policies (perhaps more than her politics) might be judged less harshly than they were at the time. However, I suspect that her economic legacy, as currently held by both Conservatives and New Labourites, might be overrated insofar as it can be said that all she had to do was to run the economy in its way out of the trough of the 70s energy crisis with an iron fist...
People tend to forget, when they knew at all, that those were the times of the “3-day week”, when there was electricity available in the country only 3 times a week, and of now ‘unbelievable’ things like Idi Amin offering to send containers of bananas to the UK as Food Aid! In that context, fighting the striking miners and crushing the trade unions, as Thatcher did, in my opinion was more a question of survival than philosophical conviction…
Now, in my question, I deliberately avoided the use of the word “feminists” because, for all I know, feminists tend to point her as the epitome of all the behaviours they fought (have been fighting) against. That said, not all “female gender activists” might be of the same opinion, at least to the extent that she vindicated their basic call for “gender equality” in all sectors of society, particularly in politics…

Koluki said...

Hi Nathalie,

Welcome to this space!
I absolutely agree with you, although I do not subscribe to all the feminists' standpoints in regards the nature and role of women in society and life in general.
Actually, I tend to think that Thatcher is a prima facie example of just how much the supposedly common "women qualities" of sensitivity, peacefulness, understanding, etc., have always been overrated.
In any case, you can find a few outstanding examples where your views on Thatcher are substantiated in previous numbers of this series here in the blog.

Koluki said...

Cho and Nathalie: I'll leave the discussion open between you... it's already sounding interesting!
Cho, I only found your last comment addressed to Nathalie after posting my replies to each of you.
Cheers!