US actress Meryl Streep, who won an Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 movie "The Iron Lady," hailed the former British premier Monday as a trailblazer for women.
"Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward" in Britain, she said.
"But to me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit," she added in a statement released after Thatcher's death Monday in London, at the age of 87.
"To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement."
Streep noted that Thatcher won the British premiership "not because she inherited (the) position as the daughter of a great man, or the widow of an important man, but by dint of her own striving."
Thatcher also "withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer," she added, referring to the fierce opposition to many of Thatcher's policies.
"To have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas -- wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now ... I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness."
She added: "To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.
"I was honored to try to imagine her late life journey, after power. But I have only a glancing understanding of what her many struggles were, and how she managed to sail through to the other side."