March 8 is International Women’s Day, and what better way to celebrate it than by looking back at Swedish history as seen from a woman’s perspective? Contributing freelancer Lisa Mikulski today selected 10 women from a recent list of "Super talents" in turn selected by Swedish business journal Veckans Affärer for 10 Swedish Superwomen — an interesting group of successful and influential women today that all thrive by a long history of equality and a strong sense of value in an open and tolerant society, Sweden. A colorful (With Oscar winner Alicia Vicander topping the list of course, Sweden at the Oscars and impressive list for sure. And, while on colorful, Swedish designer Gudrun Sjödén today announced 'The Most Colorful Woman of The Year' at the Royal Opera; artist and radio personality Stina Wollter. More info, see

Here’s a general outline celebrating how WOMEN'S RIGHTS have changed in Sweden from the 17th to 21st centuries:


1632 – A school for girls is founded in Västerås by Johannes Rudbeckius. The girls are being taught in catechism, reading, counting and other things that they might need later on.

1748 – Den Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien (The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) receives its first female member: Countess Eva De la Gardie-Ekeblad, an agronomist and scientist whose most known discovery was to make flour and alcohol out of potatoes (1746).

1773 – Konstakademin (Swedish Academy of Arts) receives its first female member, Ulrika Pasch. Also the first woman’s magazine is published by Anna Hammar-Rosén. It’s called “Hvad nytt? Hvad nytt?” (What’s new? What’s new”), and it is rumored to have been of high literary quality.

1839 – Carl Jonas Love Almqvist’s book feminist book “Det går an” is published

1845 – Equal right of inheritance for men and women is being introduced.

1846 – Unmarried women (including widows and divorcees) are permitted to work with crafts and certain trade.

1853 – Women are given the right to teach in smaller folk schools.

1858 – An unmarried woman who has turned 25 may be considered “of lawful age” if she applies for it in court. Should she then marry she loses this privilege.

1864 – Men lose their rights to lawfully own their wives.

1872 – Women may decide for themselves who they want to marry.

1873 – Women may pass academic examinations at universities, albeit not in theology or law.

1884 – The Fredrika Bremer Association is founded.

1886 – The first women’s trade union is founded: Home seamstresses in Lund. Russian mathematician Sonya Kovalevsky becomes the first female university professor.

1888 – The first female with a Medical Licentiate, Karolina Widerström.

1900 – Kata Dahlström becomes the first woman in the Social Democratic Party executive.

1901 – Right to time off (without salary) for women after they’ve given birth.

1909 – Selma Lagerlöf receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1913 – Anna Herslow and Kristina Frank become the first city councilwomen, Malmö.

1914 – Selma Lagerlöf becomes the first female member of the Swedish Academy.

1919 – Women get the right to vote.

1921 – The law of a woman’s virginity at marriage is cancelled.

1935 – Women get the same kind of state pension as men.

1936 – Women employed by the state get the right to take a leave of absence during pregnancy and birth. Paid.

1937 – Equal salaries for male and female elementary school teachers.

1937-1938 – The ban against the use, information and sales of contraceptives is abolished.

1945 – Austrian physicist Lise Meitner becomes the first female member of the Academy of Science.

1947 – Child benefit for everyone is established. Karin Kock becomes Sweden’s first female local government commissioner.

1949 – Women, along with men, are acknowledged as guardians of their children.

1955 – Women are allowed 90 days of maternity leave.

1958 – Women are allowed to become pastors.

1960 – Same salary for same work for men and women.

1964 – Oral contraceptive pills are approved.

1970 – Equal rights are written into the curriculum at schools.

1972 – The first March 8 demonstration takes place. Arranged by Grupp 8.

1975 – A new abortion law is being introduced. Now the woman may decide herself regarding abortion up to the 18th week of pregnancy.

1976 – Anna Christensen becomes the first female professor of law.

1979 – Parents of young children have the right to 6-hour workdays.

1982 – Domestic violence is subject to public prosecution. Women may chose to keep their maiden name at time of marriage.

1983 – All professions are open for women. Even the ones in Swedish national defense.

1985 – Karin Söder becomes Sweden’s first female party leader (the Center Party).

1994 – The Swedish Parliament becomes the most equal in the world, of the 349 members, 144 are women.

1997 – Christina Odenberg becomes the first female bishop.

1998 – A law banning the sale of sexual favors.

2000 –Wanja Lundby-Wedin becomes the first female chairwoman of the trade union LO.

In a country like Sweden it is relatively good to be a woman. That is, in general; there are severe exceptions such as women without papers who are hiding and have no access to protection from abuse. Read more - Battered 'paperless' women

Sweden's 101 super talents of 2016 by Veckans Affärer