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Female National Leaders around the World Part 7 – Iceland

The motives behind the series are curiosity and social conscience – female leaders are still rare around the world, and this fact exposes some fundamental defects in our social systems. I want to emphasize that I am talking about national leaders here, heads of state and heads of government, who just happen to be female by association. The reason I am highlighting them is not to propose that there would be some kind of crucial difference between them and their male counterparts. Now that we have made that clear, we can dive into our quest around the world and encounter the female leaders – both liberal and conservative – we are currently able to find. Our next stop is in the Caucasus, namely Georgia! Next, we will travel to the island in the north, Iceland!

Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Independent since 1918 and a republic since 1944, Iceland is a small island nation with population of only around 363 thousand. However, it has been remarkable in its early advancements in equality. Iceland had its first female president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir elected in 1980, and she was the first elected female president in the world. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, on the other hand, became was the first female prime minister of Iceland assuming the office in 2009. She was also the first openly LGBT head of government in the world. The current prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is thus the country’s second female prime minister. According to Wikipedia, Iceland is also the first country in the world to have a political party formed and led entirely by women. A constant top five racer in various welfare and human development lists, Iceland has recently ranked first on the Global Peace Index. 

As a Nordic welfare state, Iceland is a representative democracy with a multi-party system. The prime minister is the head of government that is elected for a period of four years. The prime minister holds the executive power together with the cabinet. Katrín hails from the Left-Green Movement. This also isn’t very usual around the world yet, and Katrín’s party actually came second in the election, but was asked to form a coalition cabinet because of series of scandals that had tarnished the victorious Independent Party. She assumed the office in November 2017 after serving as Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture. She is a M.A. in Icelandic Literature and she wrote her thesis on the work of an Icelandic crime writer! Katrín is against Iceland’s membership of NATO and conceivable EU membership.


Hero image published under CC BY 2.0 -license. Cropped and text added.

Siiri Sinko

Helsinki '21

The author is a student of political history in the University of Helsinki. She is a sensible freak who enjoys the fine little details of life. Her interests and hobbies include history, music, visual arts, cartoons, national symbols and international competitions.
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