Margaret Thatcher was Great Britain’s prime minister from 1979 to 1990.  She was, without a doubt, one of the greatest politicians in history, regardless of whether you compare her to men or women.  Her political success even rivaled the great Winston Churchill’s accomplishments.  But she came from a fairly modest background, the daughter of a grocer who was also a town councilor, with the family living in quarters above the small store that they ran.  Her humble beginnings, however, did not seem to hold her back in any way, perhaps because of her bull-dog determination that earned her the sobriquet “the iron lady.”  She eventually entered Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied chemistry, graduating in 1947.  Upon graduation, she worked for a while as a research chemist, even earning a Nobel Prize for her work in 1964.  Her true passion, however, was politics.  She became increasingly involved in politics, winning a seat in Parliament in 1961.  She would continue to rise in politics until she reached the lofty heights of the office of prime minister.  She took the reins of her country during a period of economic decline and successfully set it back on good economic footing by attacking runaway government spending and an out-of-control government deficit.  Moreover, she successfully led her country through a period of global uncertainty with the Cold War and a period of domestic terrorism, even surviving a terrorist bombing herself in 1984.  She also led her country during the Falkland’s War, contributing greatly to a significant military victory that renewed Great Britain’s prestige as a world power.  As a trail-blazer, she became the first woman in the western world to lead a political party and the first woman to hold the office of prime minister.  She was undoubtedly someone women everywhere could look to for inspiration for their dreams and endeavors. 

Margaret Thatcher's accomplishments are a good indicator of the improved status of women in the modern world.  But women have not always had so much prestige and freedom.  In ancient cultures, women sometimes were honored and given an equal footing, but for the most part, they were considered as inferior creatures to men and, in many places, were not even allowed to hold political office or own land.  Their low status even led to some horrific practices such as foot-binding in China, a practice that was only officially outlawed in 1912, relatively recently in modern history.  In this brutal practice, the feet of young girls were often broken and then bound up in a tight little ball to resemble the lotus flower because that look was considered a mark of great beauty.   In India, even though women are highly regarded for the most part, they too were subject to some brutal practices, some lasting well into the 20th century.  For instance, widows were expected to carry out sati or suttee, in which
the widow would throw herself on her husband’s burning funeral pyre in order to die with him, because apart from her husband, she really did not have any identity.  The British authorities struggled to outlaw this practice during their colonial rule of India, but it still persisted in many areas of India and surrounding countries until well into the 20th century. 

So the status of women has dramatically changed over the centuries with most modern countries now treating women as equals with men and giving them voting rights, property rights, career choices, higher level education, the right to run for and hold political office, etc.  Of course, there are still areas where women may not have complete equality.  You can probably find places where men and women doing equal work do not always get the same wages.  But the status of women has come so far that, even in these cases, if they can establish evidence of the mistreatment, they have various government agencies to help them or they can bring lawsuit against the offending party under various stipulations of the equal rights laws.  Unfortunately, women do not get such good treatment everywhere in the modern world.  In Islamic society, especially in countries and provinces where Sharia law is enforced, women are considered to be inferior creatures because they supposedly brought sin into the world.  This would be a distorted interpretation of the story of the fall in the Garden of Eden.  Although Eve was the one who first ate of the forbidden fruit, Adam was supposed to be her leader and protector.  By leaving Eve to her own devices without guidance or protection, one can argue that Adam committed the bigger sin by abdication of his responsibilities.  But he may have meant well in allowing her the latitude to do what she wanted, trying to treat her as an equal with her own  mind and desires apart from him, and maybe, he reasoned that, if he allowed her to go her own way, she would come back to him a little wiser, with the separate experiences of the two of them joined together in a shared experience that would greatly exceed the sum total of the two equal parts added together in a spiritual equation that defied normal human experience and expectation.  Of course, it really doesn’t matter who committed the bigger sin in the Garden.  It does not change the outcome. 


More on this tomorrow......
 


Comments

01/24/2017 3:37am

In the past the people are uneducated and they don’t respect the woman’s and don’t treating them well. But in this modern age the woman’s are educated and can fight for their rights. I like your wonderful article that is motivation for everyone.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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