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April 24th, 2009
Viking Women Aim to End to the Age of Testosterone

Iceland will be holding elections this Saturday, and women are poised to take charge.

Eager to bring an end to the “age of testosterone” that some Icelanders blame for their country’s current financial woes, 60-70 percent of the population is expected to vote for interim Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardóttir, giving her a mandate to lead the country on a more permanent basis. Vowing to clean up the mess caused by male-dominated political and banking systems, Sigurdardóttir has filled half of her cabinet positions with women, and put women in charge of the country’s two ailing national banks.

Sigurdardóttir, 66, is Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the modern world’s first openly gay leader. She took over on an interim basis last February, after widespread protests toppled the government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde in the wake of the country’s spectacular financial collapse.

In 2007, Iceland was #1 on the United Nation’s Human Development Index for its high standard of living, literacy and life expectancy. By October 2008, the nation’s three main banks had all collapsed, the country was brought to the brink of bankruptcy, and the International Monetary Fund had to step in with a multi-billion dollar bailout loan. Still, unemployment has risen fivefold, the currency has collapsed, interest rates and inflation have soared, and Icelanders are overwhelmed by debts amounting to 850% of GDP.

Iceland’s most famous person, pop singer Björk, is also taking advantage of the crisis to promote women in leadership roles. Teaming up with two female entrepreneurs, she has created an investment fund to help the Icelandic economy recover through green technology projects. The fund’s mission is to bring female values into the mainly male spheres of private equity and wealth management.

One of the fund’s founders, Halla Tómasdóttir, the former managing director of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce, explains: “Iceland was the first in the world into the crisis, but we could be the first out, and women have a big role to play in that. It goes back to our Viking women. While the men were out there raping and pillaging, the women were running the show at home.”

  • bo jansen

    She is not Iceland’s first woman Prime Minister. For 16 years, 1980-1996, Vigdis Finnbogadottir was Prime Minister.

  • Lauren Feeney

    Hi Bo, thanks for the comment. I double-checked, and Vigdis Finnbogadottir was President, not Prime Minister. But she’s a very interesting person to note in this article, as she was the first popularly-elected female President in the world.

  • m tracy

    As a male here in the states? I agree with Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardóttir and have been saying my own version of this since the year two thousand! Verifiable. I just awakend early on during the “bush thievery period” and saw what kind of avoidable trouble over testostranated, small hearted and little minded boys, have been doing to themselves and human kind since maybe the beginning of time.
    I really want women to lead because my gender has proven habitually, that we will not enlarge our hearts or minds to the tasks needed. I cannot bring to mind of literally any male that is capable to lead.
    Women can and are able to put out the “real fires of life promptly”.
    I am sixty one years old and have been married to the same woman for the past thirty six years.

  • Abe A.

    Aside from the fact that there were (and are) plenty of female traders, the spirit of this is the most bigoted I’ve seen in quite a while. Would you run a supportive article like this if it were men demonizing women? For shame, Iceland, and PBS.

  • 0grams

    Why don’t we just castrate all the males then the world would be just perfect wouldn’t it? Of course the women would have to keep some sperm around until they can clone themselves.

  • Orlando

    What do you know, PBS blaming the world’s ills on a chromosome. Yes, the short-haired lesbians from Child Protective Services would be proud of this article. The gay militant mafia will never beat societal norms from our cultures. Never.

  • Bryan

    I have to admit that I think the country will better with women leading it. In my opinion women make better leaders anyway(and I am a man). Women think things through before making decisions, they are better at handling money, and they don’t crack under pressure as easily. It was just a matter of time before women took control. As men, we should accept it and support the country and the women leading it.

  • nicknashville

    m tracy, kill yourself please. you sound terrified of women, and like you hate men, so i don’t even know what you are. almost every leader in the history of the known world has been male and hey look, we’ve made it this far right? i mean sure there’s crime and starving countries, but i think getting an entire planet to be perfectly in harmony isn’t something we can realistically do, especially with people like you.

  • Jake99

    Bryan said “women don’t crack so easily under pressure”…. are we on the same planet?
    Ok so women talk and discuss things till the point of brain damage before they act… cool.
    I am a man and I don’t wanna say man are better then women or women are better then man, both genders have advantages and disavantages ( in general population).

    - Women are more cautious …. man take more chances ( blame it on testosterone)
    - Women are more comunicative… man are more focused on one job at a time spending less time discussing.
    - When it comes to pressure, man are more objective focused, women are more emotional and defensive.
    - Woman take more ease on words and litterature, man take more ease with math and numbers ( high level math, not kindergarden school teaching).

    So anyways, every gender have advantages and disavantages. :)

    Talking about who’s the best lider?
    -Depends on where you want to go as a comunity, if you want to defend what you have and prosper on what you allready reached, by all means get a woman in charge.
    -If you want to conquer new positons defy new limits get a offensive stance on some area, please put a man in charge.

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