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Who was the First Female President in the World?

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Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first democratically directly elected female president in the world. She served as the fourth President of Iceland from 1 August 1980 to 1 August 1996. 

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir as the world’s first female president, proved to be a fighter for the environment, women’s rights, language and culture of her country. The people were happy with her being the head of the state and she was elected for three consecutive terms.

She is also the longest-serving elected female president of any country to date.

Born on 15 April 1930 in Reykjavík, capital city of Iceland. His faher Finnbogi Rútur Þorvaldsson was a civil engineer and mother Sigríður Eiríksdóttir was was a nurse and the chairperson of the Icelandic Nurses Association.

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Interesting facts about Vigdís Finnbogadóttir first female President in the world

  • Vigdís Finnbogadóttir passed matriculation exam in 1949. She studied French literature at the University of Grenoble. She studied the history of theater at the University of Copenhagen. She did her BA in French and English and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education, at the University of Iceland.
  • She married a physician in 1954 but divorced in 1963. She adopted a daughter at the age of 41. She was the first single woman who was allowed to adopt a child.
  • During 1960s and 1970s she participated in numerous rallies held to protest against the U.S. military presence in Iceland.
  • She taught French and French drama at the University and worked with experimental theatre. She was the Artistic Director of the Reykjavík Theatre Company.
  • She remained a member of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs in the Nordic countries from 1976 to 1980.
  • The first female President in the world became founding chair of the Council of Women World Leaders at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1996.
  • Although the Icelandic presidency is largely a ceremonial position, bu she took an active role as environmental activist and fought for Icelandic language and culture.
  • She hosted a crucial summit between U.S. 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 a model for young women.
  • Vigdís Finnbogadóttir has been UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for languages since 1998.
  • She was narrowly elected during her first tenure with 33.6 percent of the national vote and her nearest rival got 32.1 percent.
  • She became very popular and was subsequently reelected three times, unopposed in 1984, with 94.6 percent of the votes against another woman in 1988 and unopposed in 1992.
  • She was the longest serving Icelandic president with four term until Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was elected to his fifth term in 2012.

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