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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The world is remembering a powerful leader today. Arguably the most influential female leader of the 20th century died of a stroke.

Margaret Thatcher, England’s first woman prime minister, paved the way for many female politicians today.

One local expert, though, says gender had very little to do with Thatcher’s position of power.

Yes, she shared the international stage in the 1980s with male counterparts Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, but her creative ideas and ambition is what got her votes.

She led the effort for the Conservative Party in Great Britain to privatize publicly-held industries, and she shifted the balance significantly on the side of capitalist economy.

“For her, her gender was not part of the reason for her political success,” UNCW political science professor Jennifer Hurran said. “It was her ideas and how hard she worked. She based a lot of her policy and leadership in the United Kingdom on those ideals.”

Dr. Hurran said Thatcher knew where she stood, and she moved her government in that direction.

Hurran says young women in the UK and around the world have a woman to look up to in Thatcher. She also says the “Iron Lady” proved to men that women are just as capable and creative.

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