“I Am Not My Husband’s Handbag:” Iceland’s First Lady Skip to content
First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid

“I Am Not My Husband’s Handbag:” Iceland’s First Lady

Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid believes global politics can catch up to social progress when it comes to the treatment of world leaders’ spouses. The writer and editor, who is married to Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, shared a Guardian article 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.”

“I too think it’s shameful to see (I hope) independent, intelligent women reduced to props for their husbands’ political agendas,” Eliza wrote. “We can do better than assume the spouses of our leaders have nothing better to do with their time than traipse after their other halves.”

Being Iceland’s First Lady, Eliza says, is a “privilege and an honour for which I am very grateful.” She insists, however, that it shouldn’t be taken for granted that political leaders’ “unelected, unpaid” spouses will accompany them at all official functions. “I am not my husband’s handbag, to be snatched as he runs out the door and displayed silently by his side during public appearances.”

Eliza does not travel with her husband to conferences, summits, or meetings. “Rather, when I choose to travel with him it is either for an official or state visit […] or when I believe the occasion warrants the inclusion of the two of us.”

Eliza’s full post can be read in English below.

Kæru íslenskumælandi vinir! Afsakið að ég hef þessa löngu færslu ekki líka á íslensku. Í sannleika sagt get ég ekki…

Posted by Eliza Reid on Saturday, August 31, 2019

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