Vigdis Finnbogadottir

August 1, 1980 – Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is elected President of Iceland and becomes the world’s first democratically elected female head of state.  Although the Icelandic presidency is largely a ceremonial position, Vigdís took an active role as an environmental activist and fought for Icelandic language and culture, acting as a cultural ambassador in promoting the country. She emphasized the role of small nations and hosted a crucial summit between the US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986. She had as her motto: ‘Never let the women down’ and worked specifically to promote girls’ education. She was also aware of her role as a model for young women. (from Torild Skard [2014] ‘Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’ ‘Women of power – half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide. Bristol: Policy Press ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0)

Pictured below is an Icelandic stamp honoring President Finnbogadottir.

vigdis finnbogadottir

Also, for our numismatist friends, here is a French / Icelandic commemorative bronze medal from 1990 with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

vigdis finnbogadottir medal

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