Karolina Widerström

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Karolina Widerström.

Karolina Olivia Widerström, (10 December 1856 in Helsingborg – 4 March 1949), was a Swedish doctor and gynecologist. She was the first official female physician with a university education in her country. She was also a feminist and a politician, and engaged in the questions of sexual education and female suffrage. She was chairman of the Swedish Society for Woman Suffrage and a member of the Stockholm city council.

Women were officially admitted to the universities in Sweden in 1870. In 1873–1875, Karolina Widerström was a student at Gymnastiska centralinstitutet, and in 1875–1877, she was the assistant to Professor Branting. She was also active as a medical gymnast. In 1879, she received her exam at Wallinska skolan and in 1880 her exam in medical philosophy at the university at Uppsala. In May 1884, she received her medical exam at Karolinska institutet in Stockholm.

Widerström wanted women and girls to know more about their own bodies, to dress more healthily, and to receive the same rights and possibilities as men. She was especially active within gynecology and women's health. Her best-known work within her field was Kvinnohygien (Women's hygiene), which was first published in 1899, and reprinted in seven editions until 1932.

Karolina Widström was elected to the Stockholm city council in 1912 for the liberals, where she served until 1915. She was chairman of the Swedish Society for Woman Suffrage in 1918–1921, one year before the women suffrage was granted in Sweden, and became its last chairman when the organisation was dissolved in 1921, when both genders exercised the right to vote.

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