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Two Women Prime Ministers in the West in the Late Twentieth Century

Anneke Ribberink


"A politically ambitious woman (…) must come to some understanding of herself as a person and as a political figure that resolves, manages, or represses the tensions between her emerging self-view as capable of functioning effectively at the highest political levels and the generalized social view that neither she nor any other woman has that competence."1 (1993)

     Until recently, female national leaders were still very much in the minority all over the world. In the period 1945-1990, there were fewer than twenty. Women in the West acquired more political influence than ever in the latter part of the twentieth century. Factors like better educational opportunities, increasing welfare and the rise of new social movements were important in this respect. Especially the second feminist wave, that took place in the United States and Western Europe from the late 1960's to the late 1980's, was influential. There were more women in parliament, more women ministers and there were even a few women Prime Ministers, although only two of them were influential in Europe. It is striking that the two women Prime Ministers who were important in the West came to power at more or less the same time, i.e. Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom, 1979-1990) and Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway 1981,1986-1989,1990-1996).

     Anyone studying political and gender history in Western societies needs to consider that female political leaders in Europe as well as in the USA, faced other barriers than their male counterparts, precisely because of their gender. One of the main barriers they had to deal with was the widespread view that women were incompetent in political spheres. In the United States, an important female pioneer politician was Madeleine Albright, former US Ambassador to the United Nations (1992-1996) and former Secretary of State (1996-2000). She challenged the common belief that women were no good in making foreign policy. In Europe, it were these two first female Prime Ministers a decade earlier, who challenged ideas of female political incompetence. It is instructive to learn how Thatcher and Brundtland were able to cope with their huge tasks.

     Both women had to prove that they were capable of equally good political leadership as men. They were both confronted with scepticism and opposition when they came to power, as well as during their period of government. The best way of withstanding negative expectations is to present a good policy and to perform effectively. And whatever one may think of the contents of their policy, it is the main point of this article to show that both female Prime Ministers were competent politicians indeed. The fact that female political leadership is significantly less controversial at the beginning of the 21st century than it was thirty or forty years ago is, in my view, certainly due a great deal to the preliminary work of these pioneers.

I The Road To Power

     Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts in 1925, in Grantham, a small town in the Midlands of England, and Gro Harlem in 1939, in Oslo. There is thus a considerable age difference between the two women, but their period of government overlapped in part. Both women were able to make their way to power using their personal qualities and political capacities; they were both intelligent, with an academic education and highly developed political talents. The two women were also fortunate in their appearance, which is not unimportant in building up a career in a man's world. Although the setting was completely different, the two women both had a stimulating upbringing, with the support of both their father and mother. There is a considerable difference between the origins of Thatcher and Brundtland. Margaret Roberts came from a middle-class environment and did not have a lot to spare in her youth. Her parents had two grocer's shops, but her father, who had rather conservative views, was very active politically and ended up as mayor of Grantham. Margaret studied chemistry and in 1951, she married the rich manufacturer Denis Thatcher. In the early years of her marriage, she studied tax law, in preparation for a political career. The family had two children. Gro Harlem came from a prominent social-democratic family. Her father had been a minister twice in the period 1955-1965, and the well-known social-democratic Prime Minister of Norway in the fifties and sixties, Einar Gerhardsen, was a friend of the family.2 In 1960, while she was studying medicine, Gro married Arne Olav Brundtland, a student of international law. They had four children together.

     Politically-speaking, Thatcher and Brundtland were very different. Since her student days, Thatcher had been active in the Conservative Party, while Brundtland was a social-democrat and active in the Arbeiderpartiet. The British Conservative Party adhered to values like the importance of the monarchy, a strict immigration policy and good family life. Until the 1970's, it did not differ that much from the Labour Party in economic affairs. The Norwegian Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) mostly adhered to the same views as other social democratic parties: that is, it was liberal in cultural and sexual affairs and for more equality in economic and social areas. Thatcher and Brundtland both had to face opposition in building up their political career because of their sex, but Thatcher more so than Brundtland. The Tories were not very feminist and there had never been many women on leading posts in this party. Nevertheless, through hard work and despite opposition, Thatcher succeeded in building up a network in the Conservative Party. In 1959 Thatcher was elected to the House of Commons, and in the late sixties she was a member of Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.3 From 1971-1974, she was Minister of Education in his cabinet. She functioned reasonably well in this post, succeeding in broadening infant education, modernizing primary schools and raising the school leaving age to sixteen. However, she was temporarily unpopular with the general public for ending free school milk to primary school children older than seven. It earned her the nickname 'Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher,'4

     In the seventies, the United Kingdom was badly off socially and economically. The country was plagued by stagflation, a disastrous combination of inflation and economic stagnation, strikes and high unemployment. In 1975, inflation was running at 25% and there were 1.5 million unemployed. The 'Keynesian consensus' that had been generally adhered to by both the Labour party and the Tories since 1945 was beginning to waver and was challenged by the 'New Right' in the Conservative Party, of which Margaret Thatcher was also a prominent adherent. This movement advocated combating inflation through control of the monetary supply, reduction of taxes and aiming towards a balanced budget. Her affiliation with the political right in the seventies contributed to a large extent to her election as party leader in 1975. James Callaghan's Labour cabinet modestly improved economic performance in the couple of years after 1976, manifesting itself in a reduction of inflation to seven percent, in a considerable wage restraint and in severe expenditure cuts. But in the long run it did not last: the final blow came in 1978/1979 with the 'winter of discontent,' in which the unions were merciless in their strikes against the wage ceiling enforced by the government. In May 1979, the Tories had a magnificent victory in the elections and Margaret Thatcher could take up power with her cabinet.5

     Gro Harlem Brundtland had a much easier time building up a network than her British counterpart, as she could benefit from her parents' associates in the social-democratic party. Moreover, in the sixties, the party's commitment to equality was already much less anti-feminist than the British Conservative party, and in the seventies, like a few other Norwegian political parties, it had become feminized under the influence of the second wave of feminism.6 Gro Harlem Brundtland, who since her student days had been a feminist and active in the movement for the legalization of abortion, attracted attention partly because of this attitude. From 1974 to 1979, she was Minister for Environment in the cabinets of Trygve Bratteli (1973-1976) and Odvar Nordli (1976-1981), and she functioned well in this position. Since her student days, she had been interested in the relation between medicine and society, including the environment. There was great concern about the environment in Norway and a sharp eye was kept on the Minister. She was active in the fight against acid rain, and amazed everyone in 1977 when her bold actions prevented the accident with the Bravo, an oil platform in the North Sea that sprang a leak from developing into a real disaster.7 In 1975, she became the deputy party leader, partly due to the central position she had adopted. On the one hand, she had sympathy for the new social movements, including the environmental movement and the second wave of feminism. On the other, she advocated a moderate foreign policy. The proximity of the Soviet Union, which had a large military base on the northern border of Norway, made the Norwegian population extra sensitive to the threat from the East. It was characteristic of Norway's foreign policy after 1945 that people tried to steer a careful middle course between the two superpowers, but that a pro-Western orientation and a focus on the NAVO predominated. Brundtland fitted well in this course.8 In 1981, she won the battle for the party leadership, whereby she also became nominee for Prime Minister. In February of the same year, she took up that position. At the age of 42, she was the youngest ever Prime Minister of Norway, besides being the first woman.

     Since 1945 Scandinavian countries had developed a strong welfare state

"…distinct from the models applied in other industrialized countries. Characteristics such as a large state sector, extensive welfare provisions, high social welfare costs, high taxes, generous benefits and active labour market policies have been used by various writers to describe the degree of 'Nordicness'". Thus stated by the economic historians Staffan Marklund and Anders Nordlund.9

     The part played by the respective social-democratic parties after World War II in these countries was a large one. They could boast of years of practically total employment and relatively small differences in income. Since the seventies, when the income from the oil finds in the North Sea began pouring in, Norway had been the richest of the Scandinavian countries. Until the end of the seventies, it remained comparatively free from the influences of the international economic recession. Only then did economic growth, which until then had amounted to 4% annually, begin to stagnate, which created unrest among the population. In 1981 and 1982, there was zero growth for the first time. At the end of 1981, unemployment started to increase for the first time, to 2 %.10 And it was precisely in that period that Gro Harlem Brundtland came to power.

II Thatcher and Brundtland in Power

     Both women had long periods of leadership. They would not have succeeded in this if they had not been capable of delivering convincing performances as Prime Ministers. Several important aspects of their political performance will be dealt with in succession, in order to further substantiate this thesis. Within the framework of this essay, a choice had to be made. For each of the two women, two areas of policy were chosen on which they made their mark as Prime Minister and with which they became identified.

     A start will be made by looking at the socio-economic policy of both cabinets. In the eighties, the economies of both Great Britain and Norway were under pressure because of the international economic recession. The way in which the two Prime Ministers dealt with this crisis and with their socio-economic policy in general are important gauges of their political competence. The assessment will also involve foreign policy for Margaret Thatcher and emancipation policy for Gro Harlem Brundtland. This choice, too, needs some explanation.

     Margaret Thatcher's socio-economic policy and foreign policy were both controversial, but few would dare to assert that she was incompetent in these areas or that she showed no commitment. She also thought it was important to demonstrate what she had achieved in these areas. In her political career, Thatcher always tried to be occupied with 'hard, men's affairs,' such as finance, economy and – as Prime Minister – foreign affairs. It would seem the right choice, therefore, to involve her performance in this area in the assessment. Other women have blamed her for not standing up for the interests of the members of her own sex. Her failure to admit that she owed her career in part to the efforts of the feminist movement also incurred their displeasure. Presumably, Thatcher's lack of solidarity towards her own sex and her refusal to recognize that her being a woman either worked to the advantage of, or formed an obstacle to her career arose from her fear of being seen as 'weak.' Thatcher had to survive in a man's world, and female politicians ran the risk of not being taken seriously.11 This applied in particular to Great Britain and to the Conservative party. Her country definitely did not belong to the leading nations where it concerned the representation of women in political bodies. Even at the time of the second wave of feminism, in the late eighties, the percentage of female members of the House of Commons did not exceed six, compared to Norway, where the percentage of female members in the Storting (parliament) then came to 34, making it the leader in Western Europe.12 In Thatcher's political circles, women did better not to be identified with 'women's affairs,' such as national health, social work and emancipation. It could also be imagined, although this is not certain, that her origins played a role in this stance, as she thought she needed to work extra hard on proving herself. According to the British historian Pat Thane most Thatcher-watchers have failed

"…to recognize what 'a class-warrior'she was. She destroyed the upperclass landed control of the Conservative Party.(…)She provoked conflicts with some of the main bastions of the English establishment: the Church of England, Oxford University, the Law Lords, like no leader befor her. I would argue that she opted to fight a class, not a gender, war." 13

     Gro Harlem Brundtland gained international recognition in two ways. She was chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), set up by the United Nations in 1983. In 1987, this commission presented a report (popularly known as the Brundtland report) that gave a scientifically substantiated proposal for dealing with worldwide environmental problems, in combination with fighting poverty and controlling economic growth. The concept presented by the commission, called sustainable development, has since been widely discussed and implemented in many countries, international bodies and commissions.14

     But she is probably even better known for her achievements in the area of emancipation policy than in the environmental field. Norway may have been less progressive in the field of emancipation than Sweden, but it managed to catch up in many ways during the second wave of feminism.15 As mentioned earlier, Brundtland was a feminist and differed from Thatcher in this respect. Neither did she ever avoid making known her gratitude and loyalty to the feminist organizations that had made her career possible, through their battle for better political representation of women. The climate for parading oneself as a feminist Prime Minister was favourable in Norway; much more so than in the United Kingdom. In the eighties, people throughout the country were agitating for women's emancipation and the Arbeiderpartiet was feminized. Here, there was far less danger of identifying feminism with political incompetence than in Margaret Thatcher's political environment. For instance, a progressive abortion Act was introduced in Norway in 1978, and in 1979 an Act that prohibited sexual discrimination. Under Brundtland's leadership, the Arbeiderpartiet introduced a system of gender quotas in 1983, following the example of two other parties that had already done so in the seventies. Forty percent of the members of party commissions and groups in parliament were to be women and an active search had to be made for candidates.16 In Brundtland's case, therefore, it would appear justified to subject her performance in this area to closer inspection.

Margaret Thatcher

Socio-economic policy

     The neo-liberal socio-economic policy of the Thatcher cabinets is still controversial, although in recent years an unmistakably more favourable judgement is given across the board by the Thatcher-watchers than eight to ten years ago. A role has certainly been played in this gradual turnaround to a more positive judgement by the fact that the flourishing socio-economic policy of Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair (1997 to 2007) and his Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is generally viewed as a more social continuation of the Thatcher policy. Blair is aptly described, with inimitable British humour, as "Mrs. Thatcher in trousers."17

     Peter Hennessy was one of the more prominent authors who spotlighted Thatcher's period as Prime Minister. He also authored a celebrated book on British Prime Ministers since 1945. Hennessy concludes his exposé with the following words: "Her impact while in office was less only than that of Lloyd George and Churchill. Perhaps she was even their equal in this."18 It goes without saying that it is the profile of a competent female politician that is here being sketched. Peter Hennessy ascribes several matters that are also found elsewhere in debates on her period of government to the lasting legacy of Margaret Thatcher. He refers to the fact that she broke down the power of the unions, but also that during her term as Prime Minister, the border between the public and private domain shifted radically, that the number of shareholders rose from three million in 1979 to nine million in 1989, and that one million council houses were sold to private owners at favourable rates. Hennessey calls the latter "a substantial shift towards that long-standing conservative ideal of a "property owning democracy.'"19

     Such a positive judgement contrasts starkly with more negative evaluations by such historians as Eric Evans and Kenneth Morgan. They emphasize that Thatcher could win the battle with the trade unions because she was aided by the fact that the unions were anyway on the defensive, due to the blows they had received as a result of the economic crisis of the early eighties. Furthermore, the Labour party was in crisis in the eighties, and so was not capable of running a strong opposition. These authors also take away much of the glory of the ideal of the 'property owning democracy.' It was all about compensating a specific group of British society; the social layer of educated labourers, lower middle classes and higher. Old industries, such as the textile sector, disappeared in the recession, as a result of the strict monetary policy introduced during Thatcher's first cabinet period (1979-1983). This resulted in high unemployment – 3.5 million Britons were unemployed in the mid-eighties – and a great increase in the divide between rich and poor.20

     However, this does not detract from the fact that in the mid-eighties, Thatcher, assisted by her Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson, succeeded in calling a halt, at least temporarily, to the economic recession and particularly to the feared spectre of inflation, even though there were again signs of a new recession during her last cabinet (1987-1990). Thatcher also belonged to the pioneers of the new international trend of monetarism and privatization.

Foreign policy

     Before Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, she was never particularly interested in foreign policy. This changed during her period of government; so much so in fact that during her second cabinet (1983-1987) she went more and more often over the head of Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe and became her own Foreign Secretary to an increasing extent. The various authors are generally in agreement that her foreign policy was characterized by a greater degree of pragmatism than her socio-economic policy. And on the whole, her foreign policy is seen as a success. 21 In the words of the sceptic Kenneth Morgan: "Mrs. Thatcher, to general surprise, emerged as a strong and respected world leader."22

     Yet Thatcher, in her own view, had a mission to fulfil in this area, as well. First of all, she wanted to give the United Kingdom a push up the ladder of nations and to regain the former lost glory as far as possible. The continuation and revival of the special relationship with the United States was a spearhead in her policy, and she was successful in this aim, finding a kindred spirit in President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). It was precisely for the goals of her foreign policy, in which she displayed less pragmatism and was more of a conviction politician, that she gained her popularity. It is a well-known fact that the victory in the Falklands War (1982) made her hugely popular and that the patriotism she demonstrated in this conflict was supported by over 80 percent of the British people. Even Labour did not dare to criticize her policy on this issue. Her pragmatism and willingness to compromise in matters abroad manifested itself mainly in the Irish situation, where she did her utmost to get the contending parties round the table together, in South Africa, where with pain in her heart she did not oppose the election of Mugabe as President of an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, and in the Far East, where in 1984 she was forced to agree to hand over Hong Kong to China in 1997.23

Gro Harlem Brundtland

Socio-economic policy

     During her cabinet of 1981, Brundtland could not do much more than wind up current affairs. Before even a start could be made on tackling socio-economic issues on a large-scale, the cabinet fell in October 1981. The ruling Conservative coalition lost the elections in 1985, and from 1986 to 1989 a minority cabinet was in power, made up of the Arbeiderpartiet supported by a small left-wing Socialist party, led by Gro Harlem Brundtland. According to the economic historians Østerberg and Nilsen, the Arbeiderpartiet opted deliberately for a neo-Liberal course, in line with the spirit of the times. In her autobiography, Brundtland does not describe it as such, emphasizing instead the Socialist character of this new movement.24 The economy was worsening, even more so because oil prices were beginning to fall worldwide, which dealt another blow to the Norwegian economy. Under Brundtland's leadership, a strict programme of cutbacks was introduced, whereby the rate of interest was raised and the Norwegian currency was devalued by 12 percent, in order to stimulate export. In a tripartite agreement between government, employers and employees, wages and prices were scaled. The higher incomes were given a tax increase of 2%. This policy succeeded to the extent that the economy came under control once more and the rise in inflation came to a halt. Some economists were thus full of praise for the cabinet's policy. However, the price was a sharp increase in unemployment, i.e. 4% in 1989, which although low in comparison to other West-European countries at the time, was high for a country that was used to a situation of years of practically total employment. This, therefore, cost the Arbeiderpartiet the elections; they got only 34% of the votes, compared with 41% in 1985.25 Unemployment remained a problem, also in the third period of Brundtland's government. In 1993, it even rose to 6%. It was only near the end of Brundtland's period of government, in 1996, that unemployment dropped again to 4%. However, this was achieved due to a large increase in the public sector and a sharp rise in the number of employees (especially women) in the civil service. Not everyone was happy about this tendency. Moreover, beside positive results, some authors of the influential volume Nordic Social Policy point out negative effects such as paternalism and bureaucratization.26 Furthermore, there is mention of 'squandering', as the expansion of the public sector was financed by the profits from oil.

     Looking at Brundtland's policy as a whole, one can conclude that her measures, like Thatcher's, did not go uncontended, but that she succeeded at last, as did her colleague in Great Britain, in keeping the Norwegian economy under control in a stormy period for economic policy all over Western Europe.

Emancipation policy

     In 1986, eight of the eighteen ministers in Gro Harlem Brundtland's second cabinet were women. This was a first, and it made her the focus of international attention. And this was certainly not the only feminist result that she achieved. Various Acts in the area of emancipation were introduced under Brundtland, including ones concerning marriage rights, education and sexual harassment.27 The Scandinavian countries are famed for their advantageous provisions for parental leave and childcare. As far as Norway is concerned, a considerable part of the efforts in this area were carried out at the time of Brundtland's cabinets, particularly in the early nineties. Whereas in 1977 around 13 percent of children under seven went to some sort of nursery or school, this number had increased to 53 percent by 1995. In 1997, nearly 60% of all children aged 1 to 5 went to some type of nursery, of which a large part concerned full-time care. Furthermore, since 1993 it has been possible for both parents to take a year's paid parental leave following the birth of a child.28 These measures were effective indeed. Over 70 percent of women aged 25-66 had a paid job in 1990, and over 80 percent in 1999. Around half of these paid working women had a full-time job. And yet there is criticism of the fact that both parents often have full-time paid jobs in Norway. Research has shown that young Norwegian couples have structurally too little free time, which forms a considerable stress factor.29

Gro Harlem Brundtland's performance as Prime Minister can hardly be called a disappointment for feminists. The National Report for the fourth UN Conference in Beijing (1995) formulates it as follows:

"Since 1985, Norway has continued to see a steady improvement in the situation of women."30

     This was not solely to the credit of Gro Harlem Brundtland's cabinets, but to a large extent it was.

Final observations

     Some aspects of the political performance of Thatcher and Brundtland have not been dealt with in this article. For instance, there is criticism of Thatcher's centralism in her home affairs policy and of her authoritarian political style. 'Too dominant' is also something that is said of Brundtland's political style, although she was less outspoken than Margaret Thatcher in this respect. Brundtland's egalitarian social-democratic and feminist views will have softened her style. There are also claims that the performance of the 'early' Brundtland was much too emotional, and that of the 'later' was more balanced. Brundtland was also criticized for the fact that her cabinet, which took pride in its environmental policy, gave the go-ahead in 1992 for resuming commercial whaling, despite strong international protests against this decision. These issues are dealt with in more detail elsewhere, as well as the question of the extent to which the aforementioned criticism is justified. Attention is also paid elsewhere to the way in which the two female politicians combined 'work and welfare', to use modern terms.31

     The extent to which Thatcher and Brundtland were competent politicians was relevant within the framework of this article. Certainly in the case of a long period of government, as experienced by both women, it is unavoidable that there should be mistakes and criticism in some areas. But the question was whether the policy as a whole could stand the test of criticism. That is why it was decided to discuss a few crucial areas of policy that were vital to the image of the two women. And then, in the case of both Margaret Thatcher and of Gro Harlem Brundtland, the claim that they were competent female politicians can certainly be endorsed. In his book about the history of the British women's movement (2000), the historian Martin Pugh states that Margaret Thatcher unconsciously functioned as a role model. "If never exactly popular in the country, she did finally kill off the idea that women had no aptitude for politics."32 In the nineties, several women were appointed to high positions in Great Britain, for instance in judicial circles, in the House of Commons and in newspaper publishing. Such women were able to profit from the breaking through of the 'glass ceiling' brought about by Thatcher. Brundtland ensured that the various Norwegian Prime Ministers who succeeded her were also responsible for having at least 40 percent of their cabinet posts filled by women.

     However different the two women may be, they knew each other as colleagues to a certain extent. They met a few times and got along reasonably well, although their divergent political visions on issues such as nuclear disarmament, the Cold War, the economic crisis and the promotion of other women's careers formed an obstacle to their becoming true friends. On a visit to Norway by Margaret Thatcher in the autumn of 1986, the British newspaper The Observer wrote about 'The Iron Lady Versus the Super Woman.' 33 And that seems an apt epithet with which to close this article.

Anneke Ribberink is Associate Professor of History at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University), Amsterdam. She can be contacted at


1 Michael A. Genovese and Seth Thompson, 'Women as Chief Executives: Does Gender Matter?', in Women as National Leaders, ed. Michael A. Genovese (London etc.: Sage, 1993) ,1-12, q.v. 5.

2 Gro Harlem Brundtland, Madam Prime Minister. A Life in Power and Politics (New York: Farrar, Straus and Grioux, 2002). Anneke Ribberink, 'Gro Harlem Brundtland: an egalitarian Prime Minister', Paper presented at the third Rethinking social-Democracy conference, Sheffield, United Kingdom, June 28-30, 2006.

3 Brenda Maddox, Maggie. De creatie van de Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher (Amsterdam, Antwerpen: Archipel, 2003), 93

4 Maddox, Maggie, 108-113. Eric J. Evans, Thatcher and Thatcherism (London etc.: Routledge, 1997), 4,5.

5 Kenneth O. Morgan, The People's Peace. British History since 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990,1999) chapters 10 and 11.

6 Hege Skjeie, Ending the Male Political Hegemony: the Norwegian Experience', in Gender and Party Politics, ed. Joni Lovenduski and Pippa Norris (London etc.: Sage, 1993), 231-262.

7 Stephen J. Gage, 'The Effort to control Industrial Pollution', Scandinavian Review. 64,4 ( December 1976): 24-32. Brundtland, Madam Prime Minister, 92-102. Scandinavian Review, 65, 3 (September 1977): 94,95.

8 Brundtland, Madam Prime Minister, 79,80,147,148. Scandinavian Review,64,1 (March 1976): 73 and 64, 4 (December 1976): 78. K. Molin, 'Social Democracy After the Second World War', Scandinavian Review, 71, 1 (March 1983): 58-62, q.v. 59.

9 Staffan Marklund and Anders Nordlund, 'Economic problems, welfare convergence and political instability', in Nordic Social Policy. Changing Welfare States, ed. Mikko Kautto a.o. (London/New York: Routledge, 1999), 19-53, q.v. 19, 21.

10 Stein Kuehnle, 'Norway', in Growth to limits. The Western European Welfare States Since World War II , Vol. I (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986),147,153,167,170,178.

11Ruth Henig and Simon Henig, Women and Political Power. Europe since 1945 (London/New York: Routledge, 2001),19.

12 Jantine Oldersma, 'Huisvrouw, eerste minister, krijgsheldin: de manmoedige carrière van Margaret Thatcher', Lover 17,3 (September 1990),144-150, q.v.146.

13 Pat Thane, Letter to author, Spring 2006.

14 World commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

15 Gisela Kaplan, Contemporary Western European Feminism, (London: Allen and Unwin, 1992), 77. Gisela Bock, Women in European History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002).

16 Gender Equality in Norway. The National Report to the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing 1995, (Oslo: The Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Royal Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, 1994),10,15,16.

17 As quoted in Rodney Lowe, 'Torn between Europe and America. The British Welfare State from Beveridge to Blair', in The Great, the New and the British. Essays on Postwar Britain, ed. Anneke Ribberink and Hans Righart (Hilversum: Verloren, 2000), 23-38, q.v.34.

18 Peter Hennessy, The Prime Minister. The Office and its Holders since 1945 (London: Penguin Group, 2000), 379-436, q.v. 435,436.

19 Hennessy, Prime Minister, 435.

20 See Evans, Thatcher and Thatcherism, passim and Morgan, People's Peace, chapters 12 and 13.

21 This paragraph is based on Morgan, People's Peace, chapters 12 and 13, Evans, Thatcher and Thatcherism, chapters 7-9, Anthony Seldon and Daniel Collings, Britain under Thatcher (Harlow etc.: Longman, 2000), John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two: The Iron Lady (London: Pimlico, 2004).

22 Morgan,People's Peace, 455.

23 Evans, Thatcher and Thatcherism,96-100. Morgan, People's Peace, 488,489.

24 Håvard Nilsen and Dag Østerberg, Statskvinnen: Gro Harlem Brundtland og nyliberalismen (Oslo: Forum Aschehoug, 1998). Nilsen and Østerberg, message to author, April 17, 2007. Brundtland, Madam Prime Minister, 187,188,240-246.

25 Henry Valen, 'The Storting Election of September 1985: The Welfare State under Pressure',Scandinavian Political Studies, 9, 2 (1986), 177-189. R. Davis, 'Gro Harlem Brundtland', in Political Leaders of Contemporary Western Europe. A Biographical Dictionary, ed. David Wilsford (London: Mansell Publishing Ltd., 1995),49-56.

26 Jon Anders Drøpping, Bjørn Hvinden and Kirsten Vik, 'Activation policies in the Nordic countries', in Nordic Social Policy, 133-158, q.v 139,140.

27 Gender Equality in Norway, 13,17,40-42

28 Pernille L. Mørkhagen, 'The Position of Women in Norway', Norwegian information (Oslo: Norinform, 1991), 1-4.

29 Nico Keilman, 'Over tijd en kinderen', Facta, 6 (1999), 12-16.

30 Gender Equality in Norway, 8.

31 Anneke Ribberink, '"I don't think of myself as the first woman Prime Minister": Gender, Identity and Image in Margaret Thatcher's Career',in Making Reputations. Power, Persuasion and the Individual in Modern British Politics, ed. Richard Toye and Julie Gottlieb (London/New York: IB Tauris, 2005), 166-179. Anneke Ribberink, 'Gro Harlem Brundtland: A True Social Democrat', Social Europe, the journal of the European Left, e-journal by the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University (Autumn, 2006), 72-77, Ribberink, 'Gro Harlem Brundtland: An egalitarian Prime Minister'.

32 Martin Pugh, Women and the Women's Movement in Britain, 1914-1999 (Basingstoke etc.: Macmillan, 1992,2000), 336,337.

33 As quoted in Brundtland, Madam Prime Minister, 253.



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