The Staggers 8 April 2013 Margaret Thatcher: feminist icon? "I hate feminism. It is poison," she reportedly told her adviser Paul Johnson. Sign UpGet the New Statesman\'s Morning Call email. Sign-up There will be much discussion about Margaret Thatcher's role as Britain's first female prime minister in the coming days, and whether she can be considered a "feminist icon". It's probably worth remembering the Iron Lady's own thoughts on the subject: ‘The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.’ - as said to her adviser (and one-time New Statesman editor) Paul Johnson, according to a 2011 piece he wrote for The Spectator. Update: Sky's political correspondent, Sophy Ridge, has written a blog about Thatcher's legacy for women, adding two more pertinent quotes: She sits uneasily as a feminist trailblazer, famously saying "the battle for women's rights has largely been won" and "I owe nothing to women's lib". The latter quote comes from a 1982 lecture. In full, it runs: "The battle for women's rights has largely been won. The days when they were demanded and discussed in strident tones should be gone forever. I hate those strident tones we hear from some Women's Libbers." › Reviewed: Fifty Shades of Feminism Margaret Thatcher in 1975. Photo: Getty Helen Lewis is a former deputy editor of the New Statesman, who is now a staff writer on the Atlantic. She is the author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (Jonathan Cape). Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!