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The Icelandic women of Inner Wheel celebrate our organisation’s Inner Wheel Day each year on 10 January.
The initial plan was to hold a large gathering in Hafnarfjörður but due to stricter COVID-19 measures in Iceland, it had to be changed to an online video conference. The event was a great success made even better with the help of many fantastic guests.
District Chairman Guðlaug Ásgeirsdóttir, a member of the Inner Wheel Club of Hafnarfjordur, welcomed the guests. Special guests were International Inner Wheel President Ebe Panitteri Martines, Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid, and the Director of The Women’s Shelter Sigþrúður Guðmundsdóttir.
DC Guðlaug gave a presentation of the activities of Inner Wheel in Iceland. She related that there are six clubs and about 150 members. The work has been difficult in these last years due to the pandemic as there could only be a few gatherings, although Zoom calls were plentiful.
In her speech, First Lady Eliza Reid introduced her newly released book ‘Secrets of the Sprakkar’ (published in Icelandic, end of 2021). ‘Sprakkar’ in Icelandic means ‘female trailblazers’. The book discusses various aspects of the lives and accomplishments of women in Iceland. She had interviewed various women from different levels of society who had a lot to say, each touching upon a variety of topics such as gender difference, careers, motherhood, and more. The book paints a vivid image of modern Icelandic society, its advantages and disadvantages, and the current status of equality issues.
First Lady Eliza also spoke about her life-changing experiences which included emigrating from Canada to Iceland and becoming the First Lady of Iceland. This was very interesting and invited a lively discussion of her new book. It is worth mentioning that an English version of the book is due for release in early 2022.
IIW President Ebe was next to address the guests. She thanked the members for the invitation and praised their work during these trying times. She covered the history of Inner Wheel and mentioned some women which had carried out significant work for the organisation. In particular, she highlighted Margarette Golding who founded Inner Wheel in Manchester in 1924.
She also discussed various projects which IIW emphasises, including the project “Wheel Can Cerv” which promotes the immunisation of young girls against cervical cancer. It is worth mentioning that 11-year-old girls have been immunised against cervical cancer since 2014 in Iceland.
It was very nice to have IIW President Ebe with us and hopefully she has enjoyed it despite the video conference being mostly in Icelandic. DC Guðlaug said to IIW President Ebe that many Icelandic women would hopefully attend Inner Wheel’s 100th anniversary in 2024 in Manchester.
The last item of the programme was a donation of ISK 150,000 from the Inner Wheel Clubs in Iceland in support of The Women’s Shelter. It was accepted by their Director, Sigþrúður Guðmundsdóttir. Director Sigþrúður related about the Shelter’s activities in Reykjavík and Akureyri, including a halfway house which was recently initiated.
Two graduates from the Hafnarfjörður Music School performed to great acclaim at the conference. Lovely music by fantastic musicians.
DC Guðlaug ended the conference with the sentiment that better times were hopefully ahead so operations could flourish.
Best regards from the Inner Wheel women of Iceland!