Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir[1] (born 4 October 1942) is a former politician and the former Prime Minister of Iceland. She became active in the trade union movement, serving as an officer. Elected an MP from 1978 to 2013, she was appointed as Iceland's Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security, serving from 1987–1994 and 2007–2009. She has been a member of the Althing (Iceland's parliament) for Reykjavík constituencies since 1978, winning re-election on eight successive occasions. She became Iceland's first female Prime Minister and the world's first openly lesbian head of government on 1 February 2009.[2][3]

Jóhanna is a social democrat and Iceland's longest-serving member of Parliament. In the 1990s, when she lost a bid to head the Social Democratic Party, she raised her fist and declared "Minn tími mun koma!" ("My time will come!"), a phrase that became a popular Icelandic expression.[4][5] In 2009, Forbes listed her among the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world.[6] In September 2012, Jóhanna announced she would not seek re-election and would retire from politics.[7]

Political career Edit

Jóhanna was elected to the Althing in 1978 on the list of the Social Democratic Party for the Reykjavík constituency.[8] She enjoyed early success in her parliamentary career, serving as deputy speaker of the Althing (Iceland's parliament) in 1979 and in 1983–84. She was elected vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Party in 1984, a post she held until 1993. She was also Minister of Social Affairs in four separate Cabinets from 1987 to 1994, when she left the Social Democratic Party after losing the leadership contest to form a new party, National Awakening; the two parties re-merged in 2000 to form the present Social Democratic Alliance. Her 1994 declaration Minn tími mun koma! ("My time will come!"), after she lost the contest for the leadership of the Social Democratic party, has become an iconic phrase in the Icelandic language.[4][5]

From 1994 to 2003, she was an active member of the opposition in the Althing, serving on numerous parliamentary committees. After the 2003 elections, in which she stood in the Reykjavík South constituency (after the split of the old Reykjavík constituency), she was re-elected deputy speaker of the Althing. The 2007 elections, in which she stood in the Reykjavík North constituency, saw the return of the Social Democratic Alliance to government in coalition with the Independence Party, and Jóhanna was named Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security.[8]

Personal life Edit

Jóhanna married Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson in 1970[9] and the couple had two sons named Sigurður Egill Þorvaldsson and Davíð Steinar Þorvaldsson (born 1972 and 1977).[10]

After their divorce in 1987, she joined in a civil union with Jónína Leósdóttir (born 1954), an author and playwright, in 2002.[4][5] In 2010, when same-sex marriage was legalised in Iceland, Jóhanna and Jónína changed their civil union into a marriage, thus becoming one of the first same-sex married couples in Iceland.[11]


  1. This name is usually spelled in English-language press as Johanna Sigurdardottir.
  2. Moody, Jonas. "Iceland Picks the World's First Openly Gay PM", Time (Magazine), 30 January 2009. 
  3. "First gay PM for Iceland cabinet", BBC News, 1 February 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Peter Popham (29 January 2009), World gets its first gay leader, UK, <> 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Valur Gunnarsson (30 January 2009), Profile: Johanna Sigurdardottir, UK, <> 
  6. The 100 Most Powerful Women. Forbes.
  7. Reuters (27 September 2012). Iceland's PM, its first female premier, says to quit politics. Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved on 13 October 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Secretariat of Althingi, <> 
  9. Alþingi – Æviágrip: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Icelandic) (2 February 2009). Retrieved on 2 February 2009. “M. 1. (28. febr. 1970) Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson (f. 3. mars 1944) bankastarfsmaður í Reykjavík. Þau skildu.”
  10. Alþingi - Æviágrip: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
  11. "Iceland PM weds as gay marriage legalised", 28 June 2010. 

Literature Edit

  • Torild Skard (2014) 'Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir' 'Women of power - half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide' Bristol: Policy Press ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0

External links Edit

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