Iron Lady is a nickname that has frequently been used to describe female heads of government around the world. The term describes a "strong willed" woman. This iron metaphor was most famously applied to Margaret Thatcher, nicknamed so in 1976 by the Soviet media for her staunch opposition to communism.
Leaders who have earned the unofficial title (some of them postfactum) include:
- Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990
- Barbara Castle, a British Labour Party leader, whose active political career spanned over 40 years.
- Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 & 1980 to 1984
- Golda Meir, the Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974
- Eugenia Charles, the Prime Minister of Dominica from 1980 to 1995 known as the "Iron Lady of the Caribbean"
- Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine since 2007 (and in 2005)
- Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany since 2005
- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of Liberia since 2006
- Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of Lithuania since 2009 .
Some female politicians have been given similar nicknames:
- The Iron (or Steel) Butterfly is a nickname of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos.
- Iron Rita is a nickname of former Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk
- "Jern-Erna" (meaning; "Iron-Erna") is a nickname of the leader of the Norwegian Conservative Party, Erna Solberg.
- Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was given the nickname "Titanium Lady", playing on some of her similarities with Thatcher.
- in response to Manuela Ferreira Leite's nickname "Dama de Ferro Portuguesa" (Portuguese Iron Lady), her opponents and critics ironically started referring to her as "Dama de Latão" (Yellow brass Lady) and popularising the term.
"Iron Lady of the Seas", a 1984 video, and Iron Lady at Sea, a 1988 book, are about Star of India, the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat launched in 1863.
Iron Lady is also the title of a song by Phil Ochs. In this song, the Iron Lady is a metaphor for the electric chair. This song was also performed by Diamanda Galás on her live album Malediction & Prayer in dedication to Aileen Wuornos.
Iron Lady is a Warcraft III LAN gaming competition held by SteelSeries and directed at female Chinese players. The event was created in 2007 and has completed 2 seasons already. Some well known players include Zhang 'Cang' Xiangliang and Xu "Sara" Yinghua, both of whom played in the IronLady.2 Final.