Two months after lamenting the prop-like role of first ladies (and spouses of world-leaders), First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid has joined the payroll of Promote Iceland (Íslandsstofa), Vísir reports. She is the first spouse of a sitting president to occupy a salaried position in Iceland.
Promote Iceland is a public-private partnership established to improve the competitiveness of Icelandic companies in foreign markets and to stimulate economic growth through increased export.
“I will be a kind of spokesperson, you could say, for Iceland generally, but for tourism, innovation, and equal rights in the country, as well. I will be promoting Iceland in events organised by Promote Iceland,” Reid stated.
Director of Promote Iceland, Pétur Óskarsson, stated that Reid will be a great addition to the team. The company is currently restructuring its operations, with additional emphasis being placed on the organisation of events abroad. “Over the past few years, Eliza has collaborated with us on similar projects,” Óskarsson stated. “When we were planning ahead for the future, we realised that she could be of great assistance. We solicited her aid and she agreed.”
Eliza will accompany Promote Iceland to select events in North America and Europe, as she has done in the past. “The events of the coming year will be planned with her in mind.” Reid will not be a full-time employee of Promote Iceland but as a contractor. “We will, of course, be paying her for her services.” According to Vísir, Reid will be paid approximately ISK 500,000 per month.
As previously noted, this is the first time that a sitting president’s spouse will be a salaried employee of an Icelandic company. Dorrit Moussaieff attended to the affairs of her and her father’s London-based company – during the presidency of her husband, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.
“I am not my husband’s handbag.”
In September of this year, Reid shared an article from the Guardian titled “The G7 was the final straw – world leaders’ wives should refuse to travel with their spouses,” on her public Facebook-page, saying the author’s words struck a chord. In her post, Reid lamented the fact that independent, intelligent women were “reduced to props for their husbands’ political agendas.” In October, Reid also published an op-ed in the New York Times, describing the perils of navigating the role of First Lady in 2019.
Eliza Jean Reid is the Canadian-born current First Lady of Iceland since 2016 and co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat. Before her appointment as First Lady, she was a freelance writer for multiple Icelandic magazines and editor of the Icelandair Stopover from 2012 to 2016.