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No Karate Ladies for Margaret Thatcher

On this date in 1979, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister. Here’s an excerpt from an article we ran on Thatcher last year.

thatcher-timeIn 1979, Margaret Thatcher attended an economic summit in Japan. She was still a fairly new prime minister when she headed to Tokyo, and her hosts were a bit apprehensive about how a female PM would be received. To ensure Thatcher’s safety, they came up with a novel plan: they would offer her a detail of 20 “karate ladies” for protection.

There was only one hitch in this bizarre plan: Thatcher wanted no part of it.

Recently released records quote Thatcher’s cabinet secretary Sir John Hunt as saying, “Mrs. Thatcher will attend the summit as Prime Minister and not as a woman per se…the Prime Minister would like to be treated in exactly the same manner as the other visiting Heads of Delegation…If other delegation leaders, for example, are each being assigned 20 karate gentlemen, the Prime Minister would have no objection to this; but she does not wish to be singled out.”

More: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Margaret Thatcher

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May 4th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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