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The 2020 Stefansson Memorial Lecture: Seawomen of Iceland

Date & Time

Dec. 1, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm ET
This event will be webcast live

The 2020 Stefansson Memorial Lecture: Seawomen of Iceland

Note: please submit any questions for the Q&A section to

Though most in modern Iceland assume seafaring was and is primarily male-dominated, Iceland’s rich written record reflects a very different reality—one where hundreds, even thousands, of women participated consistently in sea fishing from the earliest medieval times in the mid-900s to the near present. Their insights and experiences provide a deep understanding of shipboard dynamics in the Arctic, as well as the ways female crew members may influence a ship’s working environment. Based on extensive historical and field research, Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge by Dr. Margaret Willson is the first large-scale study of this important—and as yet largely invisible—group of women, their lives, contributions to, and knowledge of Arctic fishing.

Please join us for the Stefansson Memorial Lecture to explore the importance of a gendered perspective toward fisheries policy and practices in Iceland and the wider Arctic. In partnership with Iceland’s Stefansson Arctic Institute and the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute is pleased to host this keynote lecture with professor and author Dr. Margaret Willson to commemorate the life and work of Vilhjálmur Stefansson, famed 20th century Arctic explorer, anthropologist, author, and policy advisor, to be followed by an expert panel discussion.

This event is part of a Wilson Center series held in recognition of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10, 2020), an international campaign to build awareness and galvanize action in the fight against violence against women and girls.

Hosted By

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more