I was preparing to write another health and wellness article about the importance of paying attention to the quality of our water and food when my news radio announced that Margaret Thatcher had passed at the age of 87. She is a woman known for her strength and will power to unapologetically stand by her core philosophies about life and politics. I quickly decided that the Iron Lady is, on her own, a story of how to be a strong woman of healthy character.
I was born into a generation where there is a higher percentage of females sitting in a college classroom then there are males. A generation where a woman has attempted to run for President and will most likely take that seat in before I have grown children of my own. And a generation where, back in 2006, Lifetime released an article stating that 85% of females will return to the workforce after having children.
This world is very different from the one that Margaret Thatcher was born into back in 1925.
To put it plainly into perspective, the United Kingdom did not even grant women the right to vote until 1928. I am sure that Margaret's mother might have been wary to whisper to her newborn baby girl that she could be the Prime Minister one day. Yet, by 1959 she was a Member of Parliament and in 1979 Margaret was the first woman to take residency at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister of Great Britain.
I commented to a colleague, after learning the news of her death, that the media's attention towards women in leadership has allowed this concept to become a 'Normal' for me and my sister. We didn't think to question whether or not it was appropriate for Hillary Clinton to run for President or to question the level of respect that women like Condoleezza Rice deserve for holding prestigious positions of leadership and power. But, at the risk of sounding cliché, Margaret Thatcher faced many 'Glass Ceilings' during her career and she managed to punch a hole through them and move on up. She redefined normal with an unprecedented amount of strength and will power.
The media has recently been kind to her reputation realizing that her health, and legacy, was winding down. Meryl Street paid homage to her and did a fantastic job playing the role in a movie inspired by Margaret's life story. However, looking at the articles and commentary from her time in power, she was not always well liked and often not well respected. Despite the critics, and in the face of losing all popularity contests, her signature personality trait was to stand strong and not express any doubt in her capable decision making abilities.
Margaret believed in the power of showing conviction and often spoke about the importance of living her life as a woman of action. "I’ve got a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it" and "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman" are just a couple of her famous quotes illustrating her perspective.
When I think about women's 'health and wellness' I am quick to turn to a lifestyle magazine or Pinterest for inspirational ideas. But the news of Margaret Thatcher's passing was a moving reminder that as I strive to be a woman of strength, from the inside out, and beautiful in both character and mind, I need to spend time and learn more about the women of past generations that led by example.
So the next time you are standing in the grocery line about to buy the latest magazine talking about 'Women's Issues', I would encourage you to pull out your iBooks or Library Card and read up on the women that made choices in history that have reshaped the path we are allowed to walk down today.