HerStory 2021: Stacey Abrams

Persistence is our February colorway. Picture the most exquisite Hydrangea you have ever seen, the way the colors fade one into another, the pinks and blues and purples into the green of the leaves and stem. Now picture the most talented and tenacious organizer you have ever seen, a person who can turn a political disappointment (albeit a disappointment fueled by historical gerrymandering and voter suppression) into what has arguably proven to be the most consequential and important voting outcome in modern history. 

We are talking about, of course, the incomparable Stacey Abrams (1973-present). We don’t often honor the women you might expect us to in our HerStory; one of our goals is to find those women who have been lost to traditional history, whose stories have not been told, no matter how large the influence of their work/lives have been. But after the turmoil of the 2020 election, particularly what happened in Georgia, we just could not not talk about Stacey Abrams. She is such a force. Such an inspiration. Such an admirable leader. Plus, she writes romance! As romance junkies, we literally cannot even express how much that means to us.

One of the meanings of the Hydrangea is perseverance and gratitude. Unity and togetherness. Stacey Abrams and her team are full to the brim of all of those things. In the 2 short years since she lost the governorship of Georgia, she dug her heels in, gathered a diverse team, and DID THE THING. That thing may well prove to be what literally saves Democracy. Our February colorway, Persistence, is an homage to the Hydrangeas that are starting to bloom in the Spring. To the hope that Stacey Abrams and her hard-working team have caused to bloom in our hearts. To the work that is left to do, and the voices we need to lift up in order to get that work done. As we move forward in the US and work at a more positive and just society, our hope is that you look at and work with this yarn and feel that hope and joy and gratitude that Stacey Abrams embodies. That we all do what we can to uplift each other, and allow those voices that are so necessary to be heard. And to a future in which all of the votes by all of the people count in the same way.

HerStory 2021: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (1930-), our first HerStory recipient of 2021, was a born leader. She was the first democratically-elected female head of state in the world, and remains, to this day, the longest-serving female head of state (she was President of Iceland for 19 years). 

Finnbogadóttir was born into wealth and privilege, and thus had a young life full of education and opportunity. She was a public figure before going into politics, teaching French and Icelandic culture on the state television station in the late 1970s. When she decided to run for president in 1980, her status as both a woman AND a divorced single mother weren’t enough to detract from her charisma, personality, and talent, and she was elected over 3 men.  

In no small part because of Finnbogadóttir’s work and standing in the world, Iceland is now considered by most to be the world leader in gender equality. In recent years, Iceland has passed laws to ensure gender balance on boards and to secure paid paternity leave. Almost half of all political candidates in any given election are women, and universal early childhood education is a nationwide priority. In 2013, a law was passed that required companies to ensure that a minimum of 40% of their boards are women. All of these laws and policies are created to make the world more equitable, and offer more women, from all backgrounds, the opportunities to achieve success. 

In Iceland, there is a concept called “fyrirmynd“. It’s kind of like a role model, but more: the term encapsulates the concept of being an example to others to live one’s life with authenticity and strive to do what’s right and good, not only for one’s own self, but for one’s community as well. Our Lava colorway is inspired by the beautiful lava fields one can explore in Iceland, and by our first HerStory recipient Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the Mother of Iceland. Her cool head and fire within as she broke through that glass ceiling and paved the way for so much goodness, all while typifying that fyrirmynd.