Kerstin Hesselgren

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Kerstin Hesselgren
Kerstin Hesselgren.jpg
Member of Parliament Upper Chamber
In office
Personal details
Born 14 January 1872
Torsåker, Gästrikland
Died 19 August 1962
Political party liberal, Independent
First woman in the Swedish Upper Chamber

Kerstin Hesselgren (14 January 1872 – 19 August 1962) was a Swedish politician. Kerstin Hesselgren became the first woman to be elected into the Swedish parliament after the female suffrage in 1921. She was elected by suggestion of the Liberals with support from the Social democrats.


Hesselgren was born at Torsåker, Gästrikland. She qualified as a sanitary inspector in the UK and was upon her return to Sweden sanitary inspector, school kitchen inspector and then management director of the women's work environment inspection from 1913 to 1934.

In 1921, she became one of the five first women to be elected to the Swedish Parliament after women suffrage alongside Nelly Thüring (Social Democrat), Agda Östlund (Social Democrat) Elisabeth Tamm (liberal) and Bertha Wellin (Conservative) in the Lower chamber; Hesselgren was alone in the Upper chamber and thereby became the first woman in the Upper chamber. She was a liberal in 1922–23 and 1937–44 and Independent in 1923–1937. She was Vice Chairman of the second legislation committee of the parliament in 1939–1944 and also in this capacity the first of her gender in Sweden. She died in Stockholm.

Hesselgren was active within gender and social issues: she worked for the access of all political positions and equal salary for both sexes, for the legalisation of sex education and birth control and to lower the punishment for abortion. She was well known and aroused a lot of attention to these issues. Many of her ideas was inspired by her mentor, the politician Emilia Broomé, and could be found already among the ideas of Bromée.

Kerstin Hesselgren was given Illis Quorum in 1918.

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