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Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir Biography

Early Life l Political Life



Early Life


Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was born on October 4th, 1942, in Reykjavík, Iceland. She studied at the Commercial College of Iceland and graduated with a degree in 1960 (the Commercial College of Iceland is the equivalent of a vocational high school).


Johanna Sigurdardottir when she was a young stewardess

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir when she was a young stewardess

In 1962, Jóhanna became a stewardess for Loftleiðir Icelandic airlines and remained one until 1971. Her political life began while working as a stewardess through the unions. She was a very active unionist, “twice serving as chairman of the board of the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (1966, 1969).” *

Personally, in 1970, she married Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson; the couple had two sons, Sigurður Egill, born in 1972, and Davíð Steinar, born in 1977. The marriage however, ended soon after the birth of her second son in divorce, when Jóhanna came out as a lesbian.


Jóhanna entered into a civil union with Jónína Leósdóttir, a well-known Icelandic author and playwright, in 2002 and on June 27th, 2010, the day when same-sex marriage was enacted in Iceland, the two were officially married. In addition to her own two adult sons, Jóhanna has a step-son, Gunnar Hrafn (Leósdóttir’s son, born in 1981).


* “Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Prime Minister of Iceland)”



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Political Life


Despite having worked extensively for various airline unions, Jóhanna’s professional political career is said to have begun in 1978, when she was elected into the Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament) representing the Reykjavík constituency. While in the Althingi, Jóhanna “been Deputy Speaker (1979, 1983-1984 and 2003-2007), and she has served on many committees ranging from Foreign Affairs and Constitutional Affairs to Economy/Trade and Social Affairs.” † She has also been the Minister of Social Affairs twice, from 1987 to 1994, and also from 2007 to 2009.

The Icelandic economy crashed in 2008, forcing then Prime Minister Geir Haarde to resign in January 2009. During the elections that were then held, “Sigurðardóttir led a coalition of Social Democrats and Left-Greens to form a caretaker minority government.” *


Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir celebrates her victory

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir celebrates her victory

Jóhanna won the elections and was sworn in on Feburary 1st, 2009 – becoming Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first, openly gay prime minister.


† “Brief Biography: Jóhanna Siguðardóttir”

* “Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Prime Minister of Iceland)”



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