7 Iron Ladies – from Thatcher to Merkel and more

Ronald Reagan and Thatcher

Thatcher was famously called the iron lady, but which other political leaders have been given her nickname?

1. Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party in 1975, and went on to win three elections. According to the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, the nickname was first used by a Soviet newspaper following her famous “Britain Awake” speech in 1975, and rose in prominence thanks to her strong leadership.

Maggie In Hard Hat

2. Angela Merkel

Merkel, who looks set to win an historic fourth term as German chancellor later this month, has also been called the Iron Lady – or even the Iron Chancellor. Ahead of her 2005 victory, the Independent dubbed her the “iron lady of German politics”. She was also called “Europe’s iron lady” by the Telegraph in 2011.

Emmanuel Macron & Merkel European Council meeting

3. Dalia Grybauskaite

Lithuania’s “iron lady” is currently serving her second term as president of her country. Politico has called her the Baltics’ iron lady, and given her black belt in karate, as well as her tough posturing towards Russia, it’s hardly surprising she has been given that nickname.

4. Indira Gandhi

Called the Iron Lady of India, according to the Asian Tribune, Gandhi served as her country’s prime minister between 1966 and 1977, as well as between 1980 and 1984. Her time in power ended only because of her assassination, following which she was succeeded by her son Rajiv.

5. Carly Fiorina

This US Republican was announced as Ted Cruz’s running-mate last year in an effort to defeat Donald Trump, however, Trump ultimately won his party’s nomination. Both the Hill and the American Spectator have called her America’s iron lady, and while she no longer in the political spotlight, she is certainly one to watch for the future.

6. Ruth Davidson

Between 1997 and 2017, Scotland had either one or zero Tory MPs, but that is no longer the case. Theresa May was damaged by the recent election, but Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson led her party to take thirteen Conservative MPs north of the border. As leader of the Holyrood opposition, she could be on course to becoming Scotland’s next first minister, but she is also seen as a future prime minister. Both the Telegraph and the Spectator have called her Scotland’s iron lady.

Ruth Davidson MSP

7. Theresa May

Before May called the snap election, YouGov released a poll which found that voters saw Margaret Thatcher as the prime minister who was most similar to the current prime minister, dubbing her the new iron lady. For a moment, it looked as if the polling could be right, and May would go on to win thumping majorities like Thatcher before her, but the snap election has changed all that.