OPINION!plus Iceland's former head of state Vigdís Finnbogadóttir on self-confident women & further training

Iceland is not only top when it comes to football, but also when it comes to women's rights: Vigdís Finnbogadóttirm was the first democratically elected female president in the world from 1980 to 1996. At the same time she was a single parent Mother. In an interview, she explains how Women child and Career can unite.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, born in 1930, studied literature at the University Grenoble and at the Sorbonne in Paris as well as theater studies at the University of Copenhagen. She graduated from the University of Iceland with language studies in English and French and a thesis on English and French literature. She also earned a pedagogical degree. She worked as a French teacher, as a tour guide for the Icelandic TouristOffice and in the Vocational Training travel guides and was also involved in the theater scene: she was artistic director of the Reykjavík theater group Leikfélag Reykjavíkur and 1972 – 1980 director of the Reykjavík Municipal Theater. Until 1980 she designed and presented a French language learning program on Icelandic television, where she also had her own cultural programme. From 1976 to 1980, Vigdís was also a member of the Nordic Council for Cultural Affairs.

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 quite simply the result of a good Work organization: I got help. For example for the household or when looking after my daughter.

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

No, which mainly has to do with Intelligence to do: women have to have the courage to confident be and know what they want. Then they can organize their work accordingly.

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And they have to men clear make it for that Society it is better if women and men have equal rights and also share the task of raising children.

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.

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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?

Me – a role model? No way, at first I didn't want to be President. You had to persuade me first. Then I just have mine for 16 years mandatory done.

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 Projects currently the International Center for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding, which will open in 2014. I am really committed to this, because learning languages ​​increases understanding of other cultures and is therefore an important prerequisite for world peace.

So you are active in foreign language education. 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 use the center to reawaken interest in the German language. We would be happy, if German Artists, researchers or teachers would support us here.

Which languages ​​do you speak yourself?

Icelandic natural, besides English and French and also a little German. I understand German better than I speak.

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