Prior to watching the movie Iron Lady (2011) I figured that it would be a typical one-sided look at the conservative mind of Margaret Thatcher. Instead I found it as an intriguing study of an ordinary woman from an ordinary background overcoming incredible odds while the supporting character was her conservatism. It helps that the great Meryl Streep plays her (and well deserved the Oscar). Thatcher in the movie is quite quotable and didn’t rise up to become the longest-serving (1979–1990) British Prime Minister of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post for nothing.
“We will stand on principle… or we will not stand at all.”
There seems to be some truth to the line, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But how many amazing women don’t get noticed? The unsung heroes are also the ones I want to know. Even today as a man it seems more difficult for a woman than a man to succeed in a career outside of the home and we should admire them uniquely. My wife and I are blessed and humbled to raise two wonderful daughters and we feel the responsibility to lead them carefully. I’d love to look up to their mother, grandmothers and other female relatives to learn their stories of perseverance. I want to also intentionally introduce the wide variety of female heroes.
There are great women to admire like Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, J.K. Rowling, Harper Lee, or even biblical characters like Mother Mary, Ruth, Sarah, and Hannah, perhaps. Like Margaret Thatcher, no matter what political philosophy one holds you can’t deny the spirit and tenacity of modern women like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Oprah Winfrey. These women did some amazing things whether in the forefront or quietly behind the scenes and slowly their story became told with time. I want to tell their stories to my girls and teach them about these women’s strengths and yes even their weaknesses. I want my girls to understand that none of these women were perfect but they made a difference because of some specific things and possess unique qualities to admire.
The qualities I’ve always admired in women who have made a difference are strength, faith, humility, gratitude, grace, perseverance, drive, patience, loyalty, and creativity.
Now I’m just white, 30-something male living in the burbs. But I am also a dad who cares about his girls and wants to introduce them to some amazing women as they grow up.
Ladies, what say you?
Who do you admire and why? Who inspired you when you were growing up?
Who are the unsung female heroes we can look up to?