|Torild Skard speaking in the Parliament of Norway in 2011|
|Member of the Norwegian Parliament
|President of the Lagting|
|Preceded by||Egil Aarvik|
|Succeeded by||Margit Tøsdal|
|Director for Questions relating to the Status of Women of UNESCO|
|Regional Director for West and Central Africa at UNICEF|
|Chairman of the UNICEF Executive Board|
|Preceded by||Makoto Taniguchi|
|Succeeded by||Margarita Dieguez|
|President of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights|
|Preceded by||Berit Kvæven|
|Succeeded by||Margunn Bjørnholt|
|Political party||Socialist Left Party|
|Committees||Standing Committee on Justice (deputy chair)|
Torild Skard (born 29 November 1936) is a Norwegian psychologist and researcher, feminist, politician for the Socialist Left Party, civil servant and former high-ranking United Nations official (UNESCO, UNICEF). She served as a Member of Parliament for Akershus, President of its upper chamber and Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice from 1973 to 1977. She served as Director for Questions relating to the Status of Women of UNESCO 1984–1986 and Regional Director for West and Central Africa at UNICEF 1994–1998. She was Chairman of the UNICEF Executive Board 1988-1989. She was President of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights from 2006 to 2014. She has also served as Director-General for Development Cooperation, Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for development cooperation and Special Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has been a Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. She has written several books, including Continent of Mothers, Continent of Hope (2003) on African development and Women of Power (2014) on female heads of state or government.
She was born in Oslo as a daughter of Sigmund Skard (1903–1995) and Åse Gruda Skard (1905–1985). She is a sister of Halvdan Skard and twin sister of Målfrid Grude Flekkøy. Through her mother, she is a granddaughter of Halvdan Koht and Karen Grude Koht, and through her father she is a granddaughter Matias Skard, and niece of Torfinn, Bjarne, Eiliv and Olav Skard. She is also a niece of Paul Koht.
From 1962 to 1965 Skard was married to historian, theologian and politician Berge Furre (born 1937). In 1977 she became a cohabitant with politician Kåre Øystein Hansen (born 1927), and they married in 1994.
She had her first schooling in Washington DC from 1942 to 1945, since her family was exiled because of the German occupation of Norway. After the war she completed her primary and lower secondary education at Lysaker and Stabekk, before finishing her secondary education at Hegdehaugen in 1954. After studies at the Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne and Sagene Teacher's College she graduated with the cand.mag. degree in sociology from the University of Oslo in 1962. She also chaired the Students' Council, from 1961 to 1962. In 1965 she took the cand.paed. degree. She was a lecturer at Statens spesiallærerhøgskole from 1965 to 1972 and lecturer at the University of Tromsø from 1972 to 1978. She was also subeditor of the journal Norsk Pedagogisk Tidskrift from 1966 to 1972, and from 1968 to 1969 she researched for the Norwegian Institute for Social Research. In 1975 she became an approved psychologist. From 1978 to 1984 she was a researcher at the Work Research Institute.
However, her career as a researcher was interrupted by her political career. She was originally a member of the Labour Party, but as leader of Sosialistisk Studentlag she was excluded in 1959, and co-founded the Socialist People's Party in 1961. She was a secretary for the party from 1962 to 1963, and served as a deputy representative to the Parliament of Norway during the term 1965–1969. From 1972 to 1972 she was a member of Oslo city council, and from 1973 to 1977 she was a member of Parliament for the constituency Akershus. During this term she served as President of the Lagting and deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Justice. She was delegate for Norway to the UN General Assembly (1974) and delegate for Norway to the World Conference for the International Women's Year (1975). She was the first female President of the Lagting.
From 1984 to 1986 she was Director for Questions relating to the Status of Women of UNESCO. She was then deputy under-secretary of state of the Norwegian Ministry of Development Cooperation from 1986 to 1989. Then, that Ministry was merged into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Skard retained her position as deputy under-secretary of state there. She was the first deputy under-secretary of state in both these Ministries. In 1991 she was promoted to assisting permanent under-secretary of state for development cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a position she held until 1994. From 1994 to 1998 she was Regional Director for West and Central Africa at UNICEF. She had been chairperson of UNICEF from 1988 to 1989. She was special adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2003, and subsequently senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
From 2006 to 2014, she served as President of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights. She has also been a deputy member of the Arts Council Norway (1965–1968), board member of the Foundation for Student Life in Oslo (1962–1966), board member of Folkebevegelsen mot EF (1970–1973), local leader in the Norwegian Civil Service Union (1981–1982) and deputy chair of the Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS).
- Commander of the Ordre national du Lion of Senegal, 1998
- Commander of the Order of St. Olav, 2012
- Named one of the "100 most important women" in Norwegian history by Verdens Gang, 2013
- Honorary member of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights, 2014
- In English
- Continent of Mothers, Continent of Hope: Understanding and Promoting Development in Africa Today (Zed Books, 2003), also published in Norwegian, German, French and Dutch editions
- Women of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide (Policy Press, 2014), originally published in Norwegian by Universitetsforlaget (2012)
- In Norwegian only
- Ny radikalisme i Norge (1967)
- Hva skjer med grunnskolen? (1971)
- Verksted for selvtillit (1973)
- Det er Oslo som ligger avsides (1974)
- «Kvinnekupp» i kommunene (ed.) (1979)
- Utvalgt til Stortinget (1980)
- Hverdag på Løvebakken (1981)
- UNICEF History – Executive Board, UNICEF
- Halvorsen, Solveig. "Torild Skard". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
- Lange, Even (2007). "Torild Skard". In Henriksen, Petter. Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
- "Torild Skard" (in Norwegian). Stortinget.no.
- Torild Skard utnevnt til æresmedlem av Norsk Kvinnesaksforening