Thatcher was one of only two elected women running a country when she became prime minister in 1979. There had been others before her elsewhere in the world -- Indira Gandhi of India and Golda Meir in Israel, for example -- and there have been dozens since. But even now, a very small number of countries have women in charge.
There were so few women in parliaments in 1979 that the Inter-Parliamentary Union doesn't even have statistics going back that far. But since they started tracking the information in 1997, the number of female lawmakers has risen from about one in 10 worldwide to just over one in five.
... AND WOMEN CAN VOTE EVERYWHERE
This may sound crazy today, but in 1979 several countries didn't allow women to vote. That includes Lichtenstein, the last country in Europe to grant women suffrage (they came around in 1984). Saudi Arabia was last country in the world to grant women the right to vote, in 2015.
WOMEN ARE MORE IN CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES
The average number of births per women worldwide has fallen steadily for decades. Experts use that statistic as a rough guide for how much control women have over their own lives. The fewer children a woman has, the greater control she is probably exercising. The U.N. says lower birth rates help women get out of poverty.
... AND MORE ARE GETTING AN EDUCATION
More good news here. In 1979, there were nearly 80 million school-age girls around the world who were not going to school. The number now is less than half that, even as the total global population has increased by 60%.
THEY STILL LIVE LONGER THAN MEN
Life expectancy for both men and women is rising, with women living about five years longer than men both then and now.
... BUT THEY'RE STILL NOT GETTING PAID AS MUCH
Not by a long way. Globally, women are only paid 52% of what men are paid, according to the World Economic Forum
. The organization has only been tracking the gender gap for 10 years, but the Economic Policy Institute
compared pay in the United States in 1979 and now. Back then, American women earned about two-thirds of when men did. Now, it's a little over 80%.
THEY STILL RULE (THE CHARTS) THOUGH
The best-selling single by a woman in the U.K. this year is Sia's "Cheap Thrills." Back in 1979, it was a prediction for women that Gloria Gaynor got right: "I Will Survive."