Woman in Progress: Aagot Vigdís Óskarsdóttir, legal scholar
Our third guest Woman in Progress is Aagot Vigdís Óskarsdóttir, or "Gotta" to family and friends. Gotta is an amazing Icelandic woman whose daughter is married to Nicky’s brother. A legal scholar by profession, she has combined an inspiring law career with motherhood and being married for over thirty-four years. She is also soon to become a grandmother. Currently she lives in Reykjavik, although the family lived in London for several years.
Unusually for legal careers, Gotta’s career has covered a wide variety of legal specialities, and taken many different forms. She’s worked for the Icelandic Parliamentary Ombudsman, been an assistant professor at an Icelandic University and, for the last few years has worked as an independent scholar, drafting law proposals and advising government. She has specialised in property law, natural resources and environmental law and human rights law (especially as regards gender identity).
Not only are we in awe of her career achievements but she is also one of the most calm and humble women Nicky has ever met. Gotta is truly an inspiring woman actively making real progress for others through her work.
We’re thrilled she’s found the time to answer our Woman in Progress questions.
What’s the one thing in your life that makes things easier?
Having understood that you don’t have to be perfect, and that the world does not come to an end even though you allow yourself to take it easy and relax every now and then.
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
Apart from my family – music. When I was young I studied music and worked as a music teacher for several years before changing course and going to law school. Music is still very much part of my life even though I don’t play anymore myself.
What’s one thing that you would stop if you could?
Needlessly worrying about all sorts of things.
What one piece of advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Be sure to get enough sleep.
What one piece of advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
You don’t have to conform to the male dominated lawyer’s world. Be yourself and trust your abilities.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at work?
To never give an immediate answer when asked to take on an assignment or engage in something. I always take a day to think about it. That way I can avoid taking on too much and have time to ask myself if I really want to do the assignment. Also to use e-mail for communication rather than phone. I have never liked phones, they interrupt the work, whereas you can deal with e-mails when it suits you. E-mails are also better if you need to keep distance and keep records of communications.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at home?
To respect my children’s perception of themselves and trust their ability to define and describe their feelings.
What top tip would you pass on to other women in progress reading this?
Love your family and love your life. That is the starting point – from there you can go on to conquer the world.
Are you done yet? What’s next?
First grandchild! Happy times! Less work! Music and books. Nature. Good food and wine. Being grateful for my life!
If you know (or are) a Woman in Progress we should be interviewing, who could answer our questions or who would like to be a guest writer - do please get in touch.