A group of Icelanders hope to provide men and women everywhere with a trove of examples of women achievers, and spoke to Grapevine about why this project matters.
The website, Reconesse Database, will not only provide a world map marking women achievers past and present – the site is also asking the general public to send in their own examples, with the hope to “share stories that might otherwise have gone unnoticed”.
Grapevine spoke to four of the women behind the project – Berglind Sunna Stefánsdóttir, Anna Gyða Sigurgísladóttir, Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir and Andrea Björk Andrésdóttir – who shared their insight on Reconesse and why it matters.
“The most important aspect of the project lies in providing access to more diverse female role models and in giving inspiration to both boys and girls,” Berglind told us. “To move toward having a broader view of the world and its inhabitants, where people can take on the whatever roles and passions in life that suit them.”
Anna was of much the same mind on the importance of positive examples.
“When it comes to female role models, there just isn’t enough diversity,” she told Grapevine. “Reconesse Database aims to give everyone, not just women, more diversity when it comes to female role models. The lack of representation of the achievement of women is the root of so many problems, and that’s why I find Reconesse Database important. We’re not focusing on the problem; we’re providing the solution.”
Valgerður, Reconesse’s Head of Marketing and PR, emphasised the inclusivity of the project.
“We want everyone to be involved, because we believe that everyone will benefit from this kind of initiative,” she said in part. “We’re not gender essentialists, we don’t want to focus on the differences between men and women. This project is as much about men as it is about women. It’s about the power of role models; about the power of our history and the effect it has on the kind of future it allows us to imagine for ourselves and those around us.”
Andrea told us she believes Reconesse will help contribute to a better society for future generations.
“For me, this project is all about changing the way the world perceives women, offering a new narrative on what women are capable of, which really is, and has always been, everything,” she told Grapevine. “I believe that if this perception of women and women’s abilities were to change we would witness a generation of young women hitherto unmatched in greatness, and that I believe will contribute to making the world a better and more just place.”