Leading article: Ice maidens

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You would be scratching around to find anything good that had come out of the global financial crisis – except perhaps, in the long run, a healthier attitude to credit. But now there is one incontrovertibly cheering piece of news. Iceland has appointed the world's first openly lesbian prime minister. Johanna Sigurdardottir, who is 66 and lives with her journalist civil partner, will take over from Geir Haarde, who left office yesterday, partly for health reasons.

In the first instance, Ms Sigurdardottir will be interim prime minister only. It is also true that she takes charge of a country that is, to put no fine a point on it, bankrupt. But that will only make her achievement all the more impressive, if she can set Iceland on the road to recovery. She might even have a chance. With all the country's major banks now headed by women, a successful post-crisis Iceland would make a compelling argument for matriarchy elsewhere in the developed world.

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