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Iceland's former head of state Vigdís Finnbogadóttir in an interview: "Women have to be more confident!"


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Copyright:Images from our interview partner, as well as from Geir Ólafsson.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttirm was the first democratically elected president of the world, from 1980 to 1996, not only in football, but also in women's rights. At the same time, she was a mother who was a child. In the interview she tells how women can unite childhood and career. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, born 1930, studied literature at the University of Grenoble and at the Sorbonne in Paris, as well as theater at the University of Copenhagen. She completed her studies at the University of Iceland with language studies in English and French as well as working on English and French literature. In addition, she obtained a pedagogic degree. She worked as a French teacher, as a travel guide for the Icelandic Tourist Office and in the training of tour guides, and also worked in the theater scene. She was artistic director of the Reykjavík theater group Leikfélag Reykjavíkur and 1972-1980 director of the municipal theater Reykjavík. Up to 1980, she designed and moderated a learning program for French on Icelandic television, where she also had her own cultural program. From 1976 to 1980, Vigdís was also a member of the Council for Cultural Affairs in the Nordic countries.


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Ms Finnbogadóttir, you were Xnumx for many years the Icelandic state and at the same time the child who was a mother, while many women still fail in leadership positions on this balancing act. How did you manage this?

This is simply the result of a good work organization: I got help. For example, for the household or the care of my daughter.

This sounds very simple indeed. But will not it be a question of money?

No, this is mainly about intelligence: women have to be confident, self-confident and know what they want. Then they can organize their work accordingly.

And they must make it clear to the men that it is better for society if women and men are equal and children are also educated.

That sounds very combative ...

Not at all: women should not fight against men, but with equal rights co-operation with them. Only through cooperation is good work organization possible.

A society in which a gender is disadvantaged can not work. Only together can things succeed.

Women, children and careers - what does that look like in Iceland today?

With my daughter, who now has a child herself, this works perfectly: She and her husband are fully employed and usually work until 5.

Her daughter is in kindergarten. Sometimes one of the two has to work longer, then the two have to organize themselves - one can not say it often enough: the right organization is important.

Do you see yourself as a role model for the young women today?

I - a role model? In any case, I did not want to become President of the Republic. They had to persuade me. Then I just did 16 years of my duty.

I did quite different jobs at the time, including a tour guide, French lessons, and a theater before I became president.

What are your tasks today?

My most important project at the moment is the International Center for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding, which opens 2014. I am really committed to this, because the learning of languages ​​intensifies the understanding of other cultures and is therefore an important prerequisite for world peace.

Why?

One can see again and again how closely cultural knowledge and language learning are linked. For example, the interest in the German language and culture in our schools has gone back since the Goethe Institute has closed.

Here, too, we want to revive the interest in the German language with the Center. We would be glad if German artists, researchers or teachers would support us here.

Which languages ​​do you speak?

Icelandic course, as well as English and French and also a little German. I understand German better than I speak.

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