It isn't easy being an iron lady 0
It's not easy being a woman in politics. It's especially not easy being a conservative woman in politics.
Just ask former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. She didn't get dubbed the "iron lady" - also the title of a new Thatcher biopic - for nothing.
Thatcher was ironclad, and she had to be. Like all women in politics, Thatcher faced extra scrutiny on superficial issues and was pressured to change her hair, clothes and even the pitch of her voice.
But that didn't slow her down.
Thatcher plowed through the glass ceiling, defiantly took on the old boys club and completely revolutionized the UK economy for the better.
She managed to do all this without the help of gender quotas or feminist boosters. She did it all on her own merit and through hard work.
So, why don't feminists celebrate her as an icon? Considering her achievements, she should be top of their list. Instead, feminists reject Thatcher. When I took women's studies courses in university, mentioning her name was practically a sin. Of course, that didn't stop me - I wrote a paper on her anyway.
Conservative women in politics are a unique breed. They don't want special treatment because they're women. Patronizing gender quotas and pink-gilded tokenism aren't for them. They don't believe in ghettoizing so-called women's issues from the rest of society's issues.
Ladies on the right don't fit the stereotype, and they often face a tough, skeptical crowd from all sides.
High-profile U.S. conservative politicians like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann haven't had an easy ride. They've been the targets of virtually every nasty, sexist attack imaginable. And these attacks practically get a free pass from feminist groups.
Conservative women in Stephen Harper's cabinet don't have it easy either. They often get written off by critics as puppets. Why is it so unimaginable that intelligent, credible women could be selected to lead important portfolios like health and labour based on their own merit? Both of which are currently held by conservative women.
And then there's one of my favourites: former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. She was the first female African-American secretary of state, and doesn't get anywhere close to the amount of praise that she deserves. Of course, had she been a Democrat and not a Republican, I'm sure there would be a chapter about her in every women's studies textbook out there.
Conservative women in politics stand for low taxes, small government and maximizing freedom. Sometimes, they even stand on patent leather pumps! Here's to all the iron ladies out there, making a real difference.