Chosen to be the world’s first female president, this woman proved to be unique. Find out more about Vigdis Finnbogadóttir and get inspired by her personality!
Many people had great expectations for Hilary Clinton to become the first female president of the United States. Unfortunately, she wasn’t elected. Nevertheless, we all can learn from the situation and look at the example of the powerful woman, who was the first to be elected head of state – Vigdis Finnbogadóttir.
A Creative Personality and a Hard Worker
Vigdis was born in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, in 1930. Her family was wealthy, and both parents were well-educated. After successfully passing her matriculation exam, Vigdis decided to study French and French literature in Grenoble.
There were no Internet and smartphones at that time, as well as no parental control app to manage a kid’s screen time. So, children had to learn things from books and teachers only. The girl had a creative mind, which led her to learn the history of theatre later in Copenhagen.
In 1954 Vigdis left the University in France to get married. The couple was trying to have a baby, but Vigdis had a miscarriage. In her interview, Vigdis told that her marriage breakdown in 1960 made her feel like her life had been one big mess full of mistakes.
After the divorce, Vigdis came back to Iceland to finally get a B.A. degree. Having graduated, Vigdis started teaching French at the University. Excellent knowledge of the French language helped Vigdis to become a host of a TV program where she taught French in Iceland State Television in 1970. This job, as well as the summer guides for tourists she gave at that time, made her famous and well-known among people.
Working hard, Vigdis started running the Reykjavík Theatre in 1972. She held the position until the election in 1980.
Vigdis was so ready to have a child that in 1972, she decided to adopt a little girl. Although, the adopting committee rejected her application, as she was single.
Yet, Vigdis fought for her right to have a baby and managed to prove that the law was on her side. Thus, in autumn 1972, the future Iceland president became the first single person to adopt a child. Vigdis was incredibly happy to become the mother of a little daughter, which she said was the light of her life.
The Powerful and Influential Woman
The second-wave feminism wave was very influential in Iceland at that time. The people wanted to see a strong and inspiring woman as the head of their country. That’s why Vigdis was one of the most preferred candidates.
Vigdis Finnbogadóttir left three male candidates far behind and won the election in 1980. The single mother became the first female president! Imagine the pressure of media Vigdis faced after the world started talking about her private life. Although, with her smart and witty personality, Vigdis became even more recognized.
As the world’s first female president, Vigdis proved to be a fighter for the environment, women’s rights, language and culture of her country. The people were happy with her on the post of the head, and Vigdis was reelected three times. In 1988 Vigdis became the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for languages.
Being a pioneer in so many fields, Vigdis fought to the bitter end and showed the whole of Europe her power and strength. She is a brilliant example of the woman who believed in herself no matter what and never gave up.
Kathy Brellan is a blogger and history researcher. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before she started writing historical romance, she experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating… But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time — writing romance.