Eline Hansen

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Eline Hansen (1859-1919), was a Danish feminist and peace leader.

photo of Eline Hansen
Eline Hansen (c. 1916)

Hansen was born Oct. 22, 1859 at Assens, the daughter of Christian Jacob Hansen (1832–80) and Johanne Margrethe Rasmussen (1822–91). In 1876-77 she was a student at N. Zahles privatlærerindekursus for governesses in Copenhagen; she graduated as a teacher in 1883 and worked as one at Aarhus højere Pigeskole in 1884-89, and at the public schools in Copenhagen in 1889-1910.

Eline Hansen became interested in gender equality as a student, and during her career as a teacher she worked for equality between male and female students and teachers. Hansen became a pioneer in Denmark as a school kitchen inspector, when she was educated in this profession in Norway on the expense of the Danish government and employed as such in Copenhagen in 1897. In 1898, she petitioned the government with a demand to start professional university courses for cooks at school kitchens, which was granted and put in effect in 1899. She herself became a teacher at this course.

Eline Hansen was a member of the Copenhagen School Direction in 1904-1910 and chairperson of the Copenhagen Public School Teacher's Association in 1905-1909. In 1908, she successfully managed to raise the salary for female teachers.

Eline Hansen was an important member of the Danish women's movement. In 1886 she co-founded the local Århus section of the women's organisation Dansk Kvindesamfund (DK) and the contact between the section of Århus and Copenhagen. She was a member of the central comity of the DK in 1893-1903, and alongside chairperson Jutta Bojsen-Møller credited with preserving the DK in a difficult period of split of the Danish women's movement. In 1899, she co-founded the Dansk Kvinderaad, later Danske Kvinders Nationalråd (DKN). In 1915-16, she arranged demonstrations for poor housewives. She functioned as an interpreter at the International Woman Suffrage Alliance’s congress in Copenhagen in 1906. During World War I she managed to maintain contact between British and German women, and in 1915, she was a delegate in the international women's peace conference in the Hague. Upon her return, she co-founded the peace movement Danske Kvinders Fredskæde, later Kvindernes Internationale Liga for Fred og Frihed, with Thora Daugaard, Clara Tybjerg, Louise Wright and Eva Moltesen. She was also active in the struggle for women suffrage, and chairperson of one of the Danish suffrage movements. In 1918, the fist election after women suffrage, she was nominated for parliament, but did not became elected.