High heels, neat hats, and a large desk with a commanding presence: My wish for dinner with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
While in the old part of Panama City, Panama, I came across much graffiti of interest and note that keeps running through my mind. Immediately upon entering the old city through one of the smaller side streets, I came across a graffiti stamp on the wall calling out the struggles that women still face.
The image of the high heels I took to mean that a woman can succeed as is with no pretense at being or acting like a male. Whatever that means. Everyday when I go to work in a male-dominated field I joke about putting on my big girl panties as well as my high heels. There are many out there that scoff at the notion that wearing heels is empowering. However, I do it every day. I walk to work in flats and them immediately upon entering my office I change into one of 30 sets of high heels I have under my desk. I subscribe to Christian Louboutin’s philosophy that “The higher the better. It’s more about an attitude. High heels empower women in a way.”
Many women will note that it is too much work to walk in high heels. Then don’t do it. Walk in flats and walk strong. Sit behind the executive desk tall in your high heels. That is my own motto. Anyway, the heels on the Panamanian wall reminded me that we are still a long way to women leadership being viewed as equal to that of men. I looked at that wall thinking about the many times that I have said something to just be looked askance while a male then says the same thing and it is ingenious.
I wondered, when looking at that graffiti, how many women heads of states we have had. I wondered more about the ones that have been elected. Argentina has one. Many other countries currently have one, while the US does not. As I looked at the wall, I thought about having a conversation with the first democratically elected female president. Do you know who that is?
Madame President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir from Iceland was the first democratically elected head of state. You know what is even cooler about her? She was divorced and a single mom at the time. She served for 16 years-which also happens to be the longest serving female head of state. She also demonstrated that even with a BA in English you can go far. Yes, that is a joke for all of those that have wondered what you do with a degree in arts and humanities. Furthermore, how cool is this? She was appointed president of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. I do admire her love of languages and how she has noted that “languages are the key to the world”.
I would love to follow her trajectory of female empowerment. I am not too sure what her shoe collection looks like although she has been photographed in some interesting hats. I will need to get my hat collection going hereafter. It would be great to sit with her and talk politics, motherhood, fashion, languages and how it all comes together. I wonder if I could even go sledding with her or have a spirited discussion over a few cocktails.
High heels, neat hats, and a large desk with a commanding presence- that is on the agenda for the next few years. I would also like to return to Panama in five years and go back to that wall and see what additional graffiti is added to the high heels. That story will be quite telling.
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