In this special episode about women’s history in Iceland, I visit the Women’s History Archive at the National and University Library of Iceland (Kvennasögusafn Íslands) to speak to Rakel Adolphsdóttir about collecting women’s history in Iceland and hunting for the women hidden in Iceland’s archival collection. I also chat with Íris Ellenberger and Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir, two of the researchers behind the Hinsegin Huldkonur project, who are trying to find the queer women in Icelandic sources and create a database of queer women’s history.
The opening song in this episode is by Brynja Bjarnadóttir. The songs in the middle and end are recordings from the Women’s Day Off protests in 1975. You can find them in the video further down the page.
How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places
Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.
This year, I’m living in Iceland, and in each episode, I visit a different Icelandic museum to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape Iceland’s unique cultural identity.
The podcast is hosted by me, Hannah Hethmon, an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. You can find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh.
The Museums in Strange Places podcast is available on your favorite podcast listening platforms (Did I miss one you like? Let me know!):
Things Mentioned in the Episode
- Samtökin ’78 is the National Queer Organization in Iceland
- “Once more, Iceland has shown it is the best place in the world to be female” by Sif Sigmarsdóttir in The Guardian
- Article about queer representation in Iceland’s museums on Gay Iceland
- LBGTQ rights overview for Iceland
- “#MeToo: Foreign Women in Iceland Unite!“
- “#MeToo movement jolts Iceland as women speak out“
- American Association for State and Local History & their Women’s History Group
Learn More About Icelandic Women’s History
Here’s a video with some highlights from the 1975 Women’s Day Off, called Kvennafrídagurinn in Icelandic.
Documentary about the Red Stocking group in Icelandic with English subtitles: Women in Red Stockings by Halla Kristín Einarsdóttir .
- The founders of the Women’s History Archives
- Womens suffrage in Iceland
- Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir (1856-1940), suffragette
- Ingibjörg H. Bjarnason – the first woman in parliament
- Fragments from women’s history in Iceland
- Gender equality in Iceland
- Women’s Day Off 1975
Articles about Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first democratically directly elected woman in the world:
- “Her Story Made History,” radio segment on the BBC, Jan 2018
- “Madam President: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir on fashion and the times,” contemporary profile in the Reykjavík Grapevine, 2014
- “Coffee With A Woman Who Changed Iceland,” contemporary profile in National Geographic, 2013
Photos of Icelandic Women’s History
All photo courtesy of the Kvennasögusafn Íslands/ Women’s History Archive of Iceland