Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga
Table of Contents
Vaira Vike was born on the first of December, 1937 in Riga, the capital of Latvia. To avoid the Soviet occupation, her family fled in 1945 and Vaira began her education in refugee camps in Germany then continued in Casablanca, Morocco . Thus, she learned to speak Latvian, English, France , German and Spain . In 1954, she arrived in Canada where she worked in a bank for one year before obtaining her B.A. in 1958 and an M.A. in 1960 in the field of Psychology at the University of Canada . Later in 1965, she received a doctorate (Ph.D) in experimental psychology”Latvijas Valsts presidenza.”17.04.2007. Web. 24 Aug 2011. ..
After receiving her Ph.D, she started her career in the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal. Her focus was on memory processes and language and she began a research project concerning semiotics, poetics and the structural analysis of texts from Latvian folksongs which was of great importance and led her into becoming a member of the Writers’ Union of Latvia in 2004. This probably influenced her future deep interest in questions concerning Latvian identity, culture and the political future of the Baltic States. In 1998, she returned to Latvia where she was elected as the Director of the Latvian Institute. She acquired intense administrative experience through her positions in Latvian governmental, institutional, and academic committees, which made a solid base for her political career. On June 17th, 1999, Vaira Vike-Freiberga was elected as President of Latvia, and in 2003 she was re-elected with 88 out of 96 votes. She had a very clear and effective way of communicating which helped her lead Latvia to NATO membership and the European Union. She had also been mentioned as a possible successor to the U.N. Secretary General in 2006 after Kofi Annan’s term expiredSerafin, Tatiana. “100 most powerful women.” Forbes, 31.08.2006. Web. 24 Aug 2011. .. As an important member of the Council of Women World Leaders since 1999, she was invited to and had a strong voice in the World Economic Forum in Davos. She also started great incentives for numerous international events, emphasized social issues, democracy, and morals for which she was awarded the Hannah Arendt Prize for political thought in 2005″Latvijas Valsts presidenza.” 17.04.2007. Web. 24 Aug 2011. ..
Vaira Vike married Imants Freibergs, who was a Professor of Informatics at the University of Quebec, in 1960. He became the President of Latvian Information and Communication Technologies Association in 2001. Her son Karlis lives in Riga and works as an editor and journalist as well as a free-lance translator and speech-writer. They have a daughter named Indra, who is the Director of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency that is represented in London, the United Kingdom “Latvijas Valsts presidenza.” 17.04.2007. Web. 24 Aug 2011. ..
For Political Empowerment
Even within feministic views, women are not considered to be “better equipped” for politics than men, but they fight for equal opportunities to become leaders and stress the issue of dominance of men over women, especially in conflict theory. In Latvia specifically, one can see that there is a positive, statistical trend for the proportion of women in politics, but it is not sufficient to imply a great difference from past yearsZake, Agata. “Evaluation of Gender Equality in Local Governments of Latvia .” University of Latvia, 2007. Web. 24 Aug 2011. .. The overall representation of Latvian women in the government is stated as 22,2% with 21% of the parliament and 42,3% of local municipalities”Women’s Political Participation. Latvia.” University of Latvia, n.d. Web. 24 Aug 2011. .. Accepting responsibilities, having efficient time management skills and receiving support from their families are three crucial personal aspects for the long-term success of women in politics. Roles for women in relation to politics have typically been: women that have a Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Family Database, but show no political involvement; women engaged in politics, but therefore lacking a family; and women that become seriously involved in politics only when their children have grown up. Women should be encouraged to participate in politics despite the effects on their family lives since many still use it as an excuse and hide their insecurity behind concepts of discrimination. Certainly, discrimination of women in politics is not fiction; Mental Category:Health and Gender Stereotypes, prejudices, and conflicting roles are still major issues that have to be dealt with within the socialisation process, educational programs, and governmental incentivesZake, Agata. “Evaluation of Gender Equality in Local Governments of Latvia .” University of Latvia, 2007. Web. 24 Aug 2011. .. Vaira Vike-Freiberga accepts different political and social views, but one opinion makes her furious; that “there are no suitably qualified women to run the EU”. She assures that “those people who say that should wash their mouths out with soap.” She also thinks that “they are voicing the deepest and most objectionable prejudice against women”, as she voiced in The Times. Thus, she initiated and organized protests several times because if this issue would have been left untouched it would imply that talent is only given to those with “one kind of chromosome”Charter, David. “Latvian.” Times (18.11.09): n. pag. Web. 24 Aug 2011. ..
The Iron Lady
Vike-Freiberga often voices her opinion in a rather harsh manner. Moreover, the media often compares her to Baroness Margaret Thatcher from whom the media transferred the nickname of the Iron Lady onto Vike-Freiberga. The ex-president of Latvia is very displeased with this name since she is certain that her opinions strongly diverge with those of the original Iron Lady and that despite their similar hair or dress styles, she is not imitating her in any manner. However, she is not the only one who is referred to as the Iron Lady in the Gender in the Media . This nickname has also been used for the following women: Dalia Grybauskaite, Wu Yi, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf , Golda Meir , and Indira Gandhi . Certainly, one can understand her frustration, but if the symbolic name means that she is grouped with such powerful women, perhaps it is less insulting than she thinksCharter, David. “Latvian’s ‘Iron Lady‘ slams EU’s male elite.” Times 18.11.09 Web. 24 Aug 2011. ..
- Women's Political Empowerment
- Nino Burjanadze- Political Empowerment
- The Coalition for Gender Equality in Gender Equality in Latvia
- Margaret Thatcher