It’s time for women to run for office | Halla Tómasdóttir


I feel incredibly lucky to be from a country that’s generally considered
to be the best place in the world to be a woman. In 1975, when I was seven years old, women in Iceland went on a strike. They did no work that day, whether they held professional jobs or had the work of the home. They marched into
the center of Reykjavík — 90 percent of women participated — and peacefully and in solidarity asked for equality. Nothing worked in Iceland that day, because nothing works
when women are not at work. (Applause) Five years later,
Icelanders had the courage to be the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman
as their president. I will never forget this day, that President Vigdís,
as we know her by her first name, stepped out on the balcony
of her own home, a single mom with her daughter
by her side as she had won. (Applause) This woman was an incredible role model for me and everyone
growing up at that time, including boys. She frequently shares the story
of how a young boy approached her after a couple of terms in office and asked, “Can boys
really grow up to be president?” (Laughter) Role models really matter, but even with such strong role models who I am so grateful for, when I was encouraged
to run for president, my first reaction was,
“Who am I to run for president? Who am I to be president?” It turns out that women are less likely
to consider running than men. So a study done in the US in 2011 showed that 62 percent of men
had considered running for office, but 45 percent of women. That’s gap of 16 percentage points, and it’s the same gap
that existed a decade earlier. And it really is a shame, because I am so convinced that the world
is in real need for women leaders and more principle-based leadership in general. So my decision to run ultimately came down to the fact that I felt that I had to do my bit, even if I had no political experience, to step up and try to be part
of creating the world that will make sense and be sustainable for our kids, and a world where we truly allow
both our boys and girls to be all they can be. And it was the journey of my life. It was amazing. The journey started with potentially
as many as 20 candidates. It boiled down to
nine candidates qualifying, and ultimately the race
came down to four of us, three men and me. (Applause) But that’s not all the drama yet. You may think you have drama in the US, but I can — (Laughter) I can assure you
we had our own drama in Iceland. So our sitting president of 20 years announced initially
that he was not going to run, which is probably what gave rise to so many candidates considering running. Then later he changed his mind when our prime minister resigned following the infamous Panama Papers that implicated him and his family. And there was a popular
protest in Iceland, so the sitting president thought
they needed a trusted leader. A few days later, relations
to his wife and her family’s companies were also discovered in the Panama Papers, and so he withdrew from the race again. Before doing so, he said he was doing that because now there were two qualified men who he felt could fill his shoes
running for office. So on May 9, 45 days before election day, it was not looking too good for me. I did not even make the graph
in the newspaper. The polls had me at 1 percent, but that was still the highest that any woman announcing
her candidacy had earned. So it would be an understatement
to say that I had to work extremely hard to get my seat at the table and access to television, because the network decided
that they would only include those with 2.5 percent
or more in the polls in the first TV debate. I found out on the afternoon
of the first TV debate that I would participate
along with the three men, and I found out on live TV that I came in at exactly 2.5 percent
on the day of the first TV debate. (Applause) So, challenges. The foremost challenges I had to face
and overcome on this journey had to do with media, muscle and money. Let’s start with media. There are those who say
gender doesn’t matter when it comes to media and politics. I can’t say that I agree. It proved harder for me
to both get access and airtime in media. As a matter of fact, the leading candidate
appeared in broadcast media 87 times in the months
leading up to the elections, whereas I appeared 31 times. And I am not saying
media is doing this consciously. I think largely this has to do
with unconscious bias, because in media,
much like everywhere else, we have both conscious
and unconscious bias, and we need to have the courage
to talk about it if we want to change it. When I finally got access to TV, the first question I got was,
“Are you going to quit?” And that was a hard one. But of course, with 1 percent
to 2.5 percent in the polls, maybe it’s understandable. But media really matters,
and every time I appeared on TV, we saw and experienced
a rise in the polls, so I know firsthand how much this matters and why we have to talk about it. I was the only one
out of the final four candidates that never got a front page interview. I was sometimes left out of the questions
asked of all other candidates and out of coverage about the elections. So I did face this, but I will say this
to compliment the Icelandic media. I got few if any comments
about my hair and pantsuit. (Applause) So kudos to them. But there is another experience
that’s very important. I ran as an independent candidate, not with any political party
or muscle behind me. That lack of experience and lack of access to resources probably came at a cost to our campaign, but it also allowed us to innovate
and do politics differently. We ran a positive campaign, and we probably changed the tone
of the election for others by doing that. It may be the reason
why I had less airtime on TV, because I wanted to show
other contenders respect. When access to media
proved to be so difficult, we ran our own media. I ran live Facebook sessions where I took questions from voters
on anything and responded on the spot. And we put all the questions I got
and all the answers on an open Facebook because we thought
transparency is important if you want to establish trust. And when reaching young voters
proved to be challenging, I became a Snapchatter. I got young people
to teach me how to do that, and I used every filter on Snapchat
during the last part of the campaign. And I actually had to use a lot of humor
and humility, as I was very bad at it. But we grew the following
amongst young people by doing that. So it’s possible to run
a different type of campaign. But unfortunately, one cannot talk
about politics without mentioning money. I am sad that it is that way,
but it’s true, and we had less financial resources
than the other candidates. This probably was partly due to the fact that I think I had a harder time
asking for financial support. And maybe I also had the ambition
to do more with less. Some would call that very womanly of me. But even with one third the media,
one third the financial resources, and only an entrepreneurial team,
but an amazing team, we managed to surprise everyone
on election night, when the first numbers came in. I surprised myself,
as you may see in that photo. (Laughter) So the first numbers, I came in neck to neck
to the leading candidate. (Cheers) Well, too early,
because I didn’t quite pull that, but I came in second, and we went a long way
from the one percent, with nearly a third of the vote, and we beat the polls
by an unprecedented margin, or 10 percentage points
above what the last poll came in at. Some people call me the real winner
of the election because of this, and there are many people
who encouraged me to run again. But what really makes me proud is to know that I earned proportionately higher percentage
support from the young people, and a lot of people encouraged
my daughter to run in 2040. (Applause) She is 13, and she had never been on TV before. And on election day,
I observed her on TV repeatedly, and she was smart, she was self-confident, she was sincere, and she was
supportive of her mother. This was probably
the highlight of my campaign. (Applause) But there was another one. These are preschool girls out on a walk, and they found
a poster of me on a bus stop, and they saw the need to kiss it. Audience: Aw! This picture was really
enough of a win for me. What we see, we can be. So screw fear and challenges. (Applause) It matters that women run, and it’s time for women to run for office, be it the office of the CEO
or the office of the president. I also managed to put an impression
on your very own “New Yorker.” I earned a new title,
“A living emoji of sincerity.” (Cheers) It is possibly my proudest title yet, and the reason is
that women too often get penalized for using what I call
their emotional capital, but I know from experience
that we become so good when we do just that. (Applause) And we need more of that. We celebrated as if we had won
on election night, because that’s how we felt. So you don’t necessarily
have to reach that office. You just have to go for it, and you, your family, your friends,
everyone working with you, if you do it well, you will grow beyond
anything you will experience before. So we had a good time, and I learned a lot on this journey, probably more lessons
than I can share here in the time we have today. But rest assured, it was hard work. I lost a lot of sleep during those months. It took resilience
and perseverance to not quit, but I learned something
that I knew before on the one percent day, and that is that you can only be good when you are truly, authentically
listening to your own voice and working in alignment with that. As a good sister of mine sometimes says, you may cheat on your intuition, but your intuition never cheats on you. I think it’s also very important,
and you all know this, that on any journey you go on, it’s the team you take along. It’s having people around you
who share your values, your vision, but are different in every other way. That’s the formula for success for me, and I am blessed with an amazing husband, here today, an incredible family — (Applause) and great friends, and we came together
as entrepreneurs in the political arena, and pulled something off
that everyone said would be impossible. As a matter of fact,
the leading PR expert told me before I made my decision that I would do well to get seven percent. I appreciated his perspective,
because he was probably right, and he was basing it
on valuable experience. But on the one percent day, I decided here to show him
that he was wrong. It’s very important to mention this,
because I did lose a lot of sleep, and I worked hard,
and so did the people with me. We can never go the distance
if we forget to take care of ourselves. And it’s two things that I think
are very important in that, in surrounding yourself with people
and practices that nourish you, but it’s equally important,
maybe even more important, to have the courage
to get rid of people and practices that take away your energy, including the wonderful bloggers
and commentators. I took a lot of support
from others in doing this, and I made the decision to go high
when others went low, and that’s partly how I kept
my energy going throughout all of this. And when I lost my energy for a moment — and I did from time to time,
it wasn’t easy — I went back to why I decided to run, and how I had decided to run my own race. I called it a 4G campaign, the G’s representing the Icelandic words. And the first one is called “Gagn.” I ran to do good, to be of service, and I wanted servant leadership to be at the center of how I worked
and everybody else in the campaign. Second one is “Gleði,” or joy. I decided to enjoy the journey. There was a lot to be taken
out of the journey, no matter if the destination
was reached or not. And I tried my utmost
to inspire others to do so as well. Third is “Gagnsæi.” I was open to any questions. I kept no secrets, and it was all open,
on Facebook and websites. Because I think if you’re
choosing your president, you deserve answers to your questions. Last but not least, I don’t need to explain that in this room, we ran on the principle of Girlpower. (Cheers) I am incredibly glad that I had the courage to run, to risk failure but receive success on so many levels. I can’t tell you that it was easy, but I can tell you, and I think my entire team
will agree with me, that it was worth it. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. (Applause) Pat Mitchell: I’m not letting you go yet. Halla Tómasdóttir: What a great crowd. PM: I can’t let you go
without saying that probably everybody in the room
is ready to move to Iceland and vote for you. But of course we probably
can’t vote there, but one thing we can get from Iceland and have always gotten is inspiration. I mean, I’m old enough to remember 1975 when all the Icelandic women walked out, and that really was a very big factor
in launching the women’s movement. You made a reference to it earlier.
I’d love to bring the picture back up and just have us remember what it was like
when a country came to a standstill. And then what you may not know because our American media
did not report it, the Icelandic women
walked out again on Monday. Right? HT: Yes, they did.
PM: Can you tell us about that? HT: Yes, so 41 years
after the original strike, we may be the best place
in the world to be a woman, but our work isn’t done. So at 2:38pm on Monday, women in Iceland left work, because that’s when
they had earned their day’s salary. (Applause) What’s really cool about this is that young women and men participated in greater numbers than before, because it is time
that we close the pay gap. PM: So I’m not going to ask
Halla to commit right now to what she’s doing next, but I will say that you’d have
a very large volunteer army should you decide to do that again. Thank you Halla. HT: Thank you all. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “It’s time for women to run for office | Halla Tómasdóttir

  1. Its impossible that she didn't win because she was't the best candidate, right? ITS CAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN OBVIOUSLY , STUPID MEN RUIN EVERYTHING BLAH BLAH BLAH

  2. It's time to support people who run on qualifications irrespective of their genitalia. TED – END THE SJW BULLSHIT AND GET BACK TO ACTUAL INNOVATION.

  3. These 4 little squirts at the bus stop didn't feel the need to kiss, they were just hungry.

  4. Ummmmm have you not seen the post year of elections maybe you live under a rock idk though

  5. You can support equal rights for both genders while also accepting the undeniable truth that men are better at certain things and women are better at certain things

  6. HAHAHA Sweden? 4th best place in the world to be considered a WOMAN? HAHAHAHAHA LOOK AT YOUR FUCKING RAPE CRISIS CAUSED BY YOUR STUPID IDENTITY OPEN BORDERS POLITICS

  7. LETS GET MILO YIANNOPOLOUS ON TED! HE HAS SOME IDEAS REALLY WORTH SPREADING!

  8. "the world is in real need of woman leaders, and more principled leadership in general."
    – Sexist.

    "She's the real winner of the election." "Encouraged her 13 year old daughter to run". "Running on Girlpower"
    – Participation awards for everyone! Character doesn't matter! Let the 13 year old be president right now! How heartwarming.

  9. WTF! Gary Jonson was polling at 12% vs her 2.5 and he got less media time than this woman did in her country! Why on earth is your first conclusion that "it's unconscious bias due to gender." May she just wasn't a very compelling candidate.

  10. yes. don't vote in the best candidate America! vote in the candidate that will prove how liberal you are!

  11. if this goes on we will even applaud when a woman accomplishes the most mundane task

  12. It's funny when people say "sexism is a thing of the past!" or "gender doesn't matter, aptitude does!" while downvoting this video as if it was a speech straight from ISIS.
    I think she's being too kind when she talks about unconcious biases against women. I'm afraid too many people are concious – and proud – of their own bigotry. Shame on them.

  13. Before I enter this video, I wanted to guess the like dislike bar. I guessed 20% likes, the result is 23%.
    I'm beginning to accurately quantify the viewers mind 🙂

  14. I am a woman, and I don't want to run for any office. Ever. Topic is closed for me.

  15. i really hoped there's gender war so i can identify each of the gender…..idk,in 90s there were two gender….but right now,there are plenty of it….maybe we can see who become a new dictator and a gruesome leader

  16. How's about a woman runs for president without saying the sentence "we need a woman president"

  17. How did I know this video would have so many dislikes before I clicked on the thumbnail?

  18. why is this topic a thing? women has already been running for office. wtf woman?

    you want to run for office? go ahead, nothing's gonna stop you, prove yourself that you as a PERSON not a GENDER can run the office.

  19. People seem to forget that this woman already comes from a country where the gender gap is the lowest in the world. So when you come from that kind of privilege and you still have doubts about running for office, it definitely raises the issues of unconscious bias. She ran for office, not to win, but to challenge her own doubts. And the outcome surprised her more than anyone else, especially because she was a no-one candidate with no experience and no backers. She's not just complaining about not getting airtime, she's bragging about how well she did despite not getting airtime and despite not having experience and despite not rubbing shoulders with the hoity-toity. So if someone like her can make that much of an impact imagine what women more qualified and with more backing could achieve. She basically did a Donald Trump but couldn't get away with it because she's a woman!

  20. Talking a country hostage to demand more power and money then they deserve. That is what feminism… and terrorist do. Even in the country where women are the most privilege, they still complain about fictional oppression. Feminism is becoming the most supremacist movement in the world, next to Islam.

  21. women should run for office but unfortunately the majority of you dumb b**** are going to vote for or just cuz she has a vagina

  22. a woman thats not the most corrupted lier in modern history, a woman that has been on the right side of history and had a proven track record of not only speaking on behalf but also voting on behalf of the people. #neverhillary #centercomeleft #progressive

  23. the United States is not Iceland. what a bunch of sexist nonsense…
    I know a ton of women (roughly 8) that I am close with, that say, "the world is not ready to be ran by a woman". To make it more shocking, these are the most independent, strong, badass women I've ever met. They have jobs ranging from fortune 100 companies, to 500. They are all incredibly successful,and incredibly intelligent.
    Their words… "This world is not ready for, and would not be safe with world leaders, unless every power, was completely feminine ". "we're not ready".

  24. I have no problem with women holding offices in politics. But we shouldn't just have a woman in office for just being a woman. Her views would have to be the same as mine and the same goes for men.

  25. A woman is just as good as a man, a man is just as good as a woman. Calling for women to run for office makes no sense. You know who should run for office? Whoever is best suited for the job, man or woman. When you say things like this, you're suggesting that you don't care who's best, as long as they're a woman. And that is sexism.

  26. Sad to see TED going the way of the irrational sjw. You've had some great speakers here, but giving a platform to this toxicity is just despicable

  27. The media didn't focus on you because of an unconscious bias against women? I'm pretty sure it's because you had only 2.5% of public support. I don't care what gender you are, if you have less than 10%, you're irrelevant, and thus not news worthy.

  28. "boo hoo its the medias fault that women cant win boo hoo"

  29. love how all these people who watch ted are "so open minded and smart" until something they disagree with comes along (like women and Muslims). I bet half of you didn't even watch the video.

  30. I guess being the President of Iceland is much like being the mayor of a large U.S.city.

  31. I agree completely that their needs to be more women in office and positions of power but before that can even be a possibility women need to shatter their perspective of weakness. now i live in the US so im extremely ignorant to women in the rest of the world, even in my own country im still immensely ignorant being only 18 but i know what most men think about women and why this will never be a reality without radical change. most men, at least that i know, see this as a mans world. women are incompetent just running behind another man to do what they say and be controlled. on the other side of gender, most women i know always preach the bedtime tale of true equality but still depends on the fact they're a woman to get perks. as it stands now, women are not qualified to be in office because their thinking is fundamentally flawed with the duality of weakness compared to their male counterparts and the fact this video has so many dislikes just proves my point. if women want to really make a difference they need to stop categorizing themselves as women fighting for a seat at the table and start categorizing themselves as what they are, people of this earth equal to all. until women realize this, this will and will continue to be a mans world.

  32. Or nothing works in general no matter what gender you are if you don't work 😂

  33. when you have %2.5 of the votes and you're only featured %33 as the top candidate. who mathematically has a minimum of %33 of the total votes in which she had less than tenth of that. she should be great full.

  34. Dumbass, they already have, and they can do it if they want to YOU LITTLW FUCKING LEECH

  35. dec 10, 2016, Well interestingly enough but not surprisingly feminists do not consider men's equality with women only women's equality with men, inequality against women comes from inequality against men, if society does not advocate men going for women works women cannot be free to do men's works, this is a very important point that the UN, and many gender activists miss on, all positions are positions of power if you can be influential, the gender pay gap has a lot of variables for it and many varied perspectives many that say that gender pay gap is not real, the female perceptive is not commanded by men or women in parliament but the activism that are present in the society there are more men in some of the nation's decision creating process but gender laws are in favor of women, for men's rights activists too many men's activists are indeed women too, Gender Equality Party for both men and women would be better, in fact these days feminists themselves when came to know that people are not advocating for feminists are reluctantly acknowledging men's rights too, a political party for women is definitely not a license for adding to more discrimination against men in a system where men are already discriminated against, regarding the equal representation please also include representation of men’s issues too in the political parties too political parties may have mostly men but the laws are discriminating against men and men’s issue are not addressed, equal parenting for men was impressive people do not much consider men’s right s for equal parenting, equal pay activism is fine but do not forget that men are also pain less in industries like fashion, spa, and very few address this, thank you for addressing boy’s issue regarding education, you have not addressed men’s issues with the mass communication media such as portraying men as inferior to women is some issues, please do not advocate abortion is the name of reproductive rights, it also very important that you address violence against men by women too not addressing violence against men by women because there are less violence against men by women than there is violence against women by men is like not providing women what men have because of women are in less numbers, I would not agree to the online safety because online safety is used for violating other’s right to expression as almost any thing can be declared as abusive,

  36. I think many people here are dilly-dallying and stigmatising her for being a woman speaking in favour of woman empowerment to a women audience. But I think you are a bit unfair because you don't pay attention to what she is saying. She is not insulting anybody or trying to get women replace men. she is just saying that women should try to run for president regardless of many male entrenched traditions for this kind of office. That's it.

  37. she's playing the gender card and doesn't even know it. Oh I lost BECAUSE I'm a woman. It's a defence mechanism. Oh it can't be because I'm not very good, it must be because ummm It's because I'm a woman!!! They're sexist against me!!!!!! Don't come out and give talks telling us about your defence mechanisms.

  38. More social justice warrior nonsense. Women have been running for office for decades in America. And look at Europe. Angela Merkel, anyone?

  39. it doesn't matter who is elected. men or woman. we're all controlled. and it's all a terrible mess. if women make fun or bash on Men I will ruturn fire. it's only fair. so keep your opinions to yourself and get to work and make life better for earth. do separate gender, we all got that and understand the difference. stop the whining.

  40. how about "its time for someone who is actually capable and best suited for the job, to run the office" ?

  41. She sounds not only just feministic but also narcissistic specifically Grandiose Narcissism.
    Sad that I wasted my time here.

  42. I love how majority of the comments hating on this video is from men… People commenting " No one is preventing them from running", stereotypes and oppression of women is stopping them . Majority of the people in office are men and its not because they are qualified.. Because of the way gender roles have been set up, young girls and women feel that they shouldn't run even if they are qualified… To address the comments saying that " TED needs to stop shoving feminism down our throat and how TED talks used to be intellectual ".. shut up.. do you understand the entire goal of feminism? its equality. and until that is fully achieved( or at least mostly since there are always going to be some dicks in the world) then feminism is needed… TED is on the right side of history.. They're having speakers talk about issues that are valid and 100% needed…

  43. TED, what is wrong with you now days? you were the channel I grew up with which taught me a lot about science and inspired me to pursue my dreams. Now all you do is give voice to people who just complain and talk pure nonsense.
    Definitely unsubscribing.

  44. Remember, equality to opportunity is the key to prosperity. Whereas equality to outcome, always result in total failure and often totalitarianism!

  45. OVER 2000 DISLIKES AND ONLY 898 LIKES. THIS IS OVER TWICE (200%) AS MANY PEOPLE HATE THIS VIDEO. IT'S FAIR TO SAY THIS VIDEO AND TOPIC SUCK!!

  46. Will boys grow up with the option of choosing parenthood even if their not the biological father? When will boys in the West be able to get an education?

    White women in the West are the most privileged class of society in the history of our planet!

  47. I'm getting really sick of these feminazi propaganda TED+plus events.

  48. TED Talks Is biased and suck. Where are you gonna run the office into the ground? Most companies controlled by women don't last for various reasons.

  49. Looks like she has been dining out on her election results ever since the election.

  50. I was surprised to not read any Trump jokes like "Americans said nope it's time for Trump" but their last election may be an example of just more women also need to vote. The women ratio in their last election was very low, Trump wins and millions of women march to the streets outraged. I am not saying Clinton was the right choice, but Trump is a very scary choice. I am normally not pick one of two evils, but republicans said they'd much rather Hilary in office. Telling me you would have had a office at least somewhat working together and not with Trump the Hitler wannabe. Too harsh? too dramatic?

    But yes this is more feminism bs. It's time for qualified individuals to run for office, no matter the race, gender, sexuality etc

  51. It's irrelevant what gender the person running is. What matters is the policy and track record.

  52. Hi TED. I can't find any info on a 'TEDmen' conference. Also when I search the topic of Men on the TED website, there are only 9 videos. When I searched Women, there are 109 videos… Where's the equality??

  53. I am a male, and I generally dislike Identity politics, but judging by the crappy misogynist comments below, I guess the identity discussions need to continue…

  54. always can tell a feminist…land whale status..uses her vagina to speak..the one with teeth and smiles a lot…

  55. Why are you pressuring people to do something they do not want to do? I though you were against that..

  56. It doesn't matter whether your a man or a woman. Both genders are equally as smart and capable. You just have to be qualified for the job. Simple as that.

  57. Women do run for office you nitwit. For those wondering, yes I did watch the video. "Eh woe is me I didn't get as much media coverage". "We van the the principle of girl power". Stupid

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