Despite Thatcher’s conservative view, the traits that made her influential were non-partisan. She communicated in a very straight-forward, unflinching manner. She made decisions decisively and without fear. And because of these traits and a marvelous mind, she thrived. Of course she was not always well liked. Obviously her opponents disliked many of her policies, statements, and actions. But they respected her resolve and willingness to be bold and seek change. Her quick mind and faster mouth may have upset a few, but they earned her the respect of most. Time Magazine, upon naming her one of the 100 most influential people of the century said Thatcher “combined a flamboyant willpower with evident femininity.”
Women and men alike, around the world, feel for Katie Couric and Marie-Segolene Royal. Their potential to demonstrate their ability to compete with their male counterparts and add new flavor to their arenas has suffered a setback. In the case of Royal, rather than having well-backed ideas she, in large part, criticized her opponent, eventually showed her temper and with her socialist outlook simply brought too many issues to bear at once. Couric’s problem may have arisen through poor judgment. She was expected to thrive in an area that was new to her and women in general: anchoring the nightly news. She was accustomed to a different type of show, and didn’t readily provide the hard, cold facts viewers seem to like at night. People complained that she seemed too soft.
If Couric, Royal and Clinton want to succeed in their respective fields they should take note of Thatcher. She was conservative, modest, demonstrated perseverance and did not draw unneeded attention to her gender. Through Thatcher’s example, Couric, Royal and Clinton can learn that nothing is more effective than a few simple ideas, coupled with the will to accomplish them and that the ideas, not gender, should be their focus.