Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher Advancing Gender Equality: Recruitment, Roles, Pay, and Pensions in the Armed Forces

By Segell, Glen M. | Advancing Women in Leadership, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher Advancing Gender Equality: Recruitment, Roles, Pay, and Pensions in the Armed Forces


Segell, Glen M., Advancing Women in Leadership


Abstract

Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom 's first female Prime Minister, moved to initiate policy that would see gender equality in recruitment and pay in the armed forces, but not for pensions or combatant roles. In a review of the events and Thatcher's formulation of policy toward women in the armed forces, as a debate on gender equality and social justice, the salient variables and issues taken into consideration include: Thatcher's personal agenda; her ideological position; her policy priorities; her relations with women organizations; the domestic and international political situation in which she lived; and such concerns that she might have entertained, such as appearing to show favoritism toward other women or indeed appearing to be weak. Thatcher, the Member of Parliament, had preference to gender equality, though, once elected Prime Minister, prioritized pragmatism and patriotism due to circumstances.

Adrian Kay (2005) succinctly summed up the debate on equality, noting that it exerts a powerful hold on contemporary thinking about justice (Sen, 1992). Kay quotes G. A. Cohen (1989), who states that justice is about rendering people equal in some respect, and Brian Barry (1989) who affirms that "the central issue in any theory of justice is the defensibility of unequal relations between people" (p. 3). Kay continues by highlighting that

A question for all discussions of justice is: what is the right way to treat people equally? The answer to this question will always have two components: what is to be allocated equally (or in alternative terms, what is the distribuendum ) and how is it to be allocated equally (i.e. according to which principle). (2005, p. 545)

Taking these notions into consideration and to further debate them with evidence, this article will use the case of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Member of Parliament and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , who by way of legislation and executive decisions introduced certain but not other changes to further gender equality and social justice in the armed forces. There is no other writing that tackles this issue in such a fashion.

The debate on equality and justice, in particular, gender equality and social justice, is salient to Thatcher's political career as a Member of Parliament, and subsequently as Prime Minister. Thatcher (1993, 1995, 2002) notes this frequently in her autobiographies and writings. These writings, and indeed the election of Margaret Thatcher as the United Kingdom 's first female Prime Minister in 1979, might have led to an underlying assumption that she would necessarily champion equal opportunities and equal rights for women in all walks of life. This assumption has also been noted in many writings, including those of Arnold (1984), Cosgrave (1985), Ewing (1990), Harris (1988), Kavanagh and Seldon (1989), Riddell (1989), and Thomson, (1989). Such an assumption might well have been based on the 1,287 public speeches on women and gender equality that Thatcher had made reference to in the period 1945-1979 prior to having been elected Prime Minister. These speeches indicate that there is no doubt that Thatcher was a protagonist of policy changes for women at work throughout her career as a politician. When Thatcher (1999) was questioned about her stance on gender equality in an interview, "D o you not think women should be given extra help?", she responded, "I would do anything to try to give them extra help" (Speech 47). When interviewed in a radio interview with Radio New Zealand on August 10, 1982, she expressed this as a social justice and not as feminism. She pragmatically stated,

Feminism-no, I get along quite well without it. I think that the main battles for women's right to vote and to stand in Parliament were won quite a long time ago and it now is up to us what we do with those freedoms, but there's no need any more I think to be strident about them, I think we should see them wholly in perspective. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher Advancing Gender Equality: Recruitment, Roles, Pay, and Pensions in the Armed Forces
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.