C’mon what did she teach us?
Loved, loathed but never ignored, Margaret Thatcher serves as a perfect example of a strong leader for so many women in business across the world. She was a formidable figure, from a humble background, who made a global impact, and it’s sad news to hear of her passing today.
Known as the ‘Iron Lady’ or ‘That Bloody Woman’ to some, she showed that the will could prevail if it was strong enough. At heart, she was an extremely bright, lower middle class, girl from the Midlands. She believed in hard work, achievement, and that everything had to be paid for – in other words, “If you don’t have the money, you don’t get it!” True to her values, and practising what she preached (as all good leaders do) she became Britain’s first female Prime Minister in 1979.
Her contribution to British business was profound. She created opportunity and injected life back into the economy. She restored the idea that free enterprise was socially acceptable, and built confidence and belief in the social worth of entrepreneurship. As a result, British entrepreneurs found a voice after years of retreat.
Her decisions were not always well-liked. She abolished state ownership and replaced it with privatisation. However, entrepreneurship became popular in a way it had not been before. She understood what was needed to make businesses thrive and to turn a country into one of entrepreneurs.
Just as it is now, it was an exciting era for entrepreneurship, and for women in business who felt inspired by her achievements. She set the bar. She demonstrated what was possible.
As a girl growing up in Thatcher’s era, from a home with a strong, independent mother, and being educated at a private girls school, I was unaware of sexual discrimination. I was taught that anything was possible if you worked hard and set your mind to it. It’s little wonder why I ended up as a women in business and an entrepreneur!
Whether you believe Margaret Thatcher failed or inspired women in business is not a debate for here. Some believe she not only failed to shatter the glass ceiling, she actually failed women completely by dismissing rather than tackling the barriers many of them faced. She became the exception to the rule.
Anything is possible for women in business
Whatever your opinion, I must confess something. It somewhat excites me to know that women now outnumber men in the workforce (for the first time in history), and are gaining increasing positions as leaders of industry. Together with more than 8 million (and growing) businesses owned by women, the recovery of the USA (and I hope the UK) economy will be, to a great degree, driven by women. Furthermore, if the Dalai Lama’s predications manifest, the Western woman will save the world.
So this is a time to re-address the balance of power for women in business. Thanks to the advancements of technology, particularly the Internet, if women take action and use it, they will shine both as women in business and entrepreneurs. Then we can show the world what we’re truly capable of!
13 quotes from Margaret Thatcher to inspire you
1. “Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous: you get knocked down by traffic from both sides.”
2. “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
3. “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.”
4. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
5. “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.”
6. “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.”
7. “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”
8. “If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”
9. “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.”
10. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
11. “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.“
12. “Pennies don’t fall from heaven — they have to be earned here on Earth.”
13. “Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.”
Now I want to hear from you…
Women in business, please tell me which female figurehead inspires you? And tell me how you’ve dealt with your journey into entrepreneurship as a woman? Leave your story in the comments below.
With love and gratitude – as always,
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