Department or Program



When Margaret Thatcher won the election for Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1979, she entered unchartered territory. Not only was she the first Conservative Prime Minister in several terms, she was the first female Prime Minister and, as such, became the subject of public scrutiny. This thesis seeks to understand how Thatcher’s gender and her traditional values shaped the decisions that she made in three key areas of her political life: her first election for Prime Minister, the race riots of 1981, and the Falklands War. I seek to understand these events in her life by studying the statements she made to the public in BBC broadcasts, her speeches in Parliament, and her speeches to various constituencies along the way. By scrutinizing her gendered language choices and her frequent references to Winston Churchill, I am able to explain how her deep connection to the past helped her shape Britain into a country with traditional values that reflected her own. Previous scholarship on Thatcher examines either her gender or her politics, leaving a conspicuous gap at the intersection of the two. This thesis seeks to fill that gap in order to better understand her legacy and the place she created for Conservative women in politics.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Shaw, Caroline

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.