All of the women I spoke to had jobs. Granted, most of those jobs were lower qualified positions than what they had studied at home, but they paid much better wages and that made them happy. All of them mentioned safety as the number one attraction of life in the Faroe Islands. And all of them described themselves as strong, independent women because they had chosen to live here.
As one explained, women who marry a European and stay in the Philippines or Thailand often have household help and a high standard of living. Not so on the Faroes. Women have to go it alone to earn money, raise children, learn one of the world’s most difficult languages and survive the long dark winters.
They described the thrill of getting their driver’s license, succeeding at job interviews, having their own bank accounts.
What’s more, they described their husbands as less patriarchal than men in their home countries. This was the most surprising revelation to me. My encounters with Faroese men left me with the impression that they were highly traditional.
…I’ve come to the conclusion that both are probably right. Somehow, these women have found space for themselves to live the life they want, even within the confines of a conservative society.