From Ambassador (Madame Vigdís Finnbogadóttir)

madame vigdis
madame vigdis
Iceland is well known as the world's global leader in gender equality. This title applies their world of politics.
Japan is far behind Iceland when it comes to women’s active participation in the society, and in fact, I sometimes feel somewhat embarrassed as Ambassador representing Japan.
The other day, I had opportunities to host a conferment ceremony and reception at my residence to present the Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Dr. Kristín Ingvarsdóttir, Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Iceland.
To my delight, Former President H.E.Madame Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was also present. Madame Finnbogadóttir is known for her interest in Japan and has visited Japan several times. I had hoped to meet her once after I took office, but now that she is retired and rarely attends official events, I hadn‘t had the opportunity until now.
Madame Finnbogadóttir was elected President in 1980 and served four terms as President of Iceland until 1996. A female head of state, especially an elected President, was rare and the first kind in the world.
“I thought that when I was a child, only women were supposed to become President," said an Icelandic woman from the Government who attended the reception. “At that time, Vigdís was still President. I remember how surprised I was when I heard that a man could also become President.”
A Children’s book about Madame Finnbogadóttir is also available, which you can spot easily in bookstores. This book is translated into English, and some tourists buy it as a souvenir. It would be nice if a Japanese translation were also available.
In the future, Japan may need role models like Madame Finnbogadóttir in order to expand opportunities for women to play an active role in the society.