Has anyone else been wild eyed watching Thatcher iron her husband’s shirts?
MentorSHE Tips №3
Like millions of other fans of The Crown, I have been soaking up season 4 and lapping up the history I recall so easily. But of all things, I found myself mouth agape as I watched Margaret Thatcher iron her hubby’s shirts, set the table, and make dinner — it brought the term multitasking to a new level.
I am not judging anyone for wanting to do any or all of this; I just couldn’t believe she would have the time!
I shriek every time I see the Prime Minister tend to her domestic duties while engaging in a war, or digging in against apartheid. Imagine Thatcher recruiting her daughter to help make supper for her defense ministers while they simultaneously plot strategies against Argentina in defense of the Falkland Islands.
They did not call her the Iron Lady for nothing (I will spare you the obvious pun here). Clearly, she was tough as nails, but maybe that name had to do with something more.
When I ran this idea by my daughter Jess, she asked me if I was (in the parlance of millennials), “dragging her or praising her”. Good question. I suppose I was dragging her. She did not support other women. She allegedly told the Queen women were “too emotional” to be chosen as part of her cabinet. She was not a feminist. How ironic, two women at the top, working for the future of Great Britain for more than a decade.
This sparked a great discussion with my daughter. “She was absolutely not a feminist at all,” Jess said. “However, she did show women that it was possible to make it to the top on your own merit. She did it in a way that threatened no men, which basically meant she had to do double duty being the perfect wife/mother. Those men loved that she cooked dinner for them when they briefed her. It made her a lot less threatening. She rose through the ranks because she perpetuated stereotypes instead of breaking them down.”
To this I answered yes, she did what had to be done then to rise up as a woman and pursue her passion for duty, to serve her country. She sacrificed parts of herself and the feminist cause because of it. There are still stereotypes today that prevent us from stepping into our power. I wonder how much more different they are today.
True mentorship is about creating more space for everyone, not allowing narrow power structures to dictate how we lead. Mentorship tip no.3: do great work, lead by example, and make room for everyone at the table.
Special thanks to Editor, Shauna McGinn
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