[FOUNTAIN]Giving women a chance

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[FOUNTAIN]Giving women a chance

Margaret Thatcher, who became prime minister of Great Britain in 1979, was unmistakably gallant and dignified on the public stage. Without the slightest hesitation in judgment, she confronted powerful unions and used the police to drive those unions away from strikes when necessary.

Mrs. Thatcher was called "The Iron Lady" because she dealt with national affairs so forcefully. She was also criticized for being cold-blooded. People even jeered that she was so efficient that when she gave birth, she delivered twins. Although England is an advanced European nation ruled by a queen, Mrs. Thatcher had to struggle in a society controlled by men. Mrs. Thatcher confessed that she broke into tears alone at night because she was under pressure not to show that a woman might be weak.

Mrs. Thatcher endeavored, even after she was appointed the first female leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, to spend sleepless nights during Parliament, finishing her meals faster than others and holding onto bills under deliberation. In competition with male politicians, she always focused on her work. She was a strong, independent woman who survived poverty, growing up in a house without a bathroom.

During 2000, a significant group of females entered politics. This occurred not only in European countries but also in Southeast Asia and Canada. Futurist scholars' predictions that women's political participation would be deeply rooted in society in the 21st century was brought to people's attention. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand, female leaders endured political conflicts in the midst of tensions between the left and the right, terrorism and societal changes that made demands on women's rights. The disadvantages the leaders faced as women were enormous.

Former female ministers in Korea have all complained that while they were ministers the media persistently questioned their qualifications and made them look incompetent. Some people claim that the media have shown malicious intent toward female ministers because women gained positions according to a quota system.

The public should support acting Prime Minister Chang Sang, letting her develop into a courageous female prime minister by taking advantage of her talents and abilities. Before that happens, Ms. Chang should answer all questions about her son's nationality and his exemption from military service, and earn the esteem of the public through her honesty.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Choi Chul-joo

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