(Exhibition text in English, referring to a QR code in the exhibition)

First Female Lawyer Questions Conventional Morals

Name: Eva Andén
Born: 1886 in Uppsala
Died: 1970 in Danderyd, Stockholm

Sweden’s first female lawyer. Strives to improve the legal status of children and women and has a major influence on Swedish 20th-century family law.

When Eva Andén graduates from law school in 1912, many legal professions are closed to women. Nevertheless, Eva Andén manages to secure a position as a court clerk and, later, as an intern at a law firm. Whenever she works in court, she has to declare that she is unmarried. Until 1925, married women are legal minors and need their husband’s permission to work.

In 1918, Eva Andén applies for membership with The Swedish Bar Association and is accepted as its first female member. She dedicates her career to the rights of women and children, and she writes in the feminist magazine Tidevarvet. Andén is in favour of free abortion, refers to illegitimate children as ‘extraordinary children’, and promotes prenuptial agreements, cohabitation and simplified divorce legislation.

Eva Andén has many famous clients. Among them are author Selma Lagerlöf and journalist Barbro (Bang) Alving. Andén is also approached by an unmarried woman – Astrid Ericsson (who would later marry and become the author Astrid Lindgren) – and helps her travel to Copenhagen, where she can give birth to her illegitimate son discretely.

On the Road with Pen in Hand

Name: Alma ”Brodjaga” Braathen
Born: 1906 in Gällö, Jämtland
Died: 1967 in Sundsvall

Journalist, photographer and war correspondent full of social commitment. Her signature, Brodjaga (Russian: tramp), is a nickname given to her by the Russian socialist and feminist Aleksandra Kollontaj.

You should not own more than you can carry up a birch tree. This is Alma Braathen’s motto. Her first book is published in 1929, when she is only 23. In it, she describes a trip she went on the previous year. It took her by cargo ship to northern Italy, then Naples, Rome and Florence. The final destination was meant to be Venice, but Alma Braathen wanted to continue. She left her travelling companion and most of her own luggage behind and continued alone to Athens.

Money was tight and Braathen fell ill, but she travelled on to Palestine and Syria. She hitchhiked from Damascus to Beirut and on to Egypt. She climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza before continuing to Istanbul.

Back home, Braathen finds it difficult to hold down a job. She travels extensively as a freelance reporter, reporting from Ukraine and the Caucasus in the Soviet Union. During World War II, Alma Braathen works for one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Dagens Nyheter. Like Barbro Alving, another famous correspondent, she is a frontline reporter, first in Finland during the Russo-Finnish War, and later in northern Norway.

From Maid to Assistant Party Secretary

Name: Hulda Flood, née Andersson
Born: 1886 in Eda, Värmland
Died: 1968 in Stockholm

Agitator, politician and deputy party secretary for the Social Democratic Party. An important figure in the organisation of women in the Swedish labour movement.

Hulda Andersson works as a maid before moving to Karlstad. She becomes a tailor, marries Oscar Flood and holds a seat on the city council from 1914 to 1922. She and her husband buy a tailor’s shop in Uppsala and move there in 1923. The same year, Hulda is elected chair of the Social Democratic Women’s Association in the Uppsala region.

In 1924, Hulda Flood is widowed, and she closes the tailor’s shop. The Social Democratic Women’s Association employs her to manage their office in Stockholm, but also to do campaign work. Hulda Flood’s salary is so low that she has to work part-time as a cleaner, maid and writer. She is committed to the trade unions and the labour movement, and spends much of her time travelling, campaigning and establishing various women’s associations.

In 1929, Hulda Flood becomes the Social Democratic Party’s deputy party secretary, a position she holds until 1948. Her main task is recruiting new female party members. Although Hulda Flood writes books and articles, she suffers from a lack of formal education. The higher positions within the party are claimed by other women.

Sweden’s First Female Bus Driver

Berta Persson and her husband Wilhelm own a haulage company. Wilhelm is supposed to manage the bus route between Kappelshamn and Visby on Gotland, but he finds it difficult to keep track of the orders and bookings that the job involves.

Berta Persson fails her bus driving test twice. She already has an ordinary driving licence. On her third attempt, she asks a few male bus drivers to come along as passengers. This time, the examiner admits that Berta drives the bus just as well as any man. Third time lucky for ‘Bus Berta’, who starts to drive the Chevrolet bus with space for 14 passengers at a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour in 1927.

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