Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World
From interview in our new Issue in Reykjavík Grapevine about Eliza new book:
Eliza Reid, the Canadian-born journalist and writer who ended up First Lady of Iceland after her husband, historian Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, was elected President in 2016, is probably the most approachable person in such a high office that you’ll ever meet. Those who knew her “back when,” this own reporter included, can attest that she’s still in many ways the same that she’s always been: whip smart, funny, gregarious, laid back, and not shy to talk about her vulnerabilities.
But being First Lady obviously changes you in some ways, whether you want it to or not. You’re not an elected official, but bear much of the responsibility that a head of state might, in the sense that you also represent your country to the world at large. You’re placed in a position of privilege that most people will never experience. For some, that privilege can alienate them from others; for Eliza, it prompted her to seek out the stories of ordinary women in Iceland from a diversity of backgrounds, and present them in her latest book, Secrets Of The Sprakkar.
It’s hard to overstate what a page-turner this book is. Stories that are at times touching, hilarious, and harrowing, interspersed with Eliza’s candid recounting of moments in her own life, and gently woven in with tales of some of the most famous women in Icelandic history, Secrets Of The Sprakkar is more than a book to her; it’s a mission, sprung from a familiar source.
Excerpt from the book:
“I don't have a grand national vision for the country. I just hope that I can do my part to make our society a better place for everyone.”
“When you think of who the leaders of gender equality in Iceland are, you think of all these names, and these weren't necessarily the people I wanted to talk to.”
“I see all these stories coming forward in the #MeToo movement and I see people saying 'oh my goodness, when will it end?' I hope it ends in the sense that these situations aren't happening anymore."
An excellent and informative book!
Eliza's writing style and choice of subject is easy and so fascinating to follow. It was quite revealing to me that, although women in Iceland have about the most equal treatment of any country, there is still quite a way to go to reverse such an ingrained patriarchal mindset. An excellent and informative book!