Karen Platou

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Karen Platou

Karen Platou (9 July 1879 – 10 June 1950) was a Norwegian businesswoman and a politician for the Conservative Party. Platou was the country's first woman to be elected Member of Parliament.[a]

She was born in Mandal, Vest-Agder, the daughter of treasurer Otto Michael Stoud Platou (1852 – 1903) and Ida Nanna Amalie Ræder (1852 – 1903). Among the many prominent members of her family were her uncle Christian Emil Stoud Platou, rail road director and Conservative politician, and another uncle Waldemar Stoud Platou, brewer and businessman.[1] She grew up in Kristiania – today called Oslo – and received her education here and in Hanover, Germany. After finishing her education she started working as an architect, and also got involved in organisational and political work.[1]

From 1919 Platou had been a deputy representative in the Norwegian Parliament – Stortinget – for the Conservative Party. In the 1921 election, she was elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of Kristiania, as the first woman in the country.[2] The 1921 election was the first Norwegian election with proportional representation, which probably helped the chance of a woman being elected.[3] Her first speech in Parliament was a criticism of then Prime Minister Otto Blehr's assertion that chocolate was a luxury commodity. Platou believed it was an important part of children's diet.[1] She was elected out of office after her first term was up, but continued for another term as deputy representative.[1]

In 1930 she established her own publishing business. During World War II, Platou worked actively for the resistance movement, until she was exposed and had to flee to Sweden in 1942.[1] Platou died in 1950; she was never married.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Staff. "Karen Platou". Norsk Biografisk Leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  2. ^ "Kvinner på Stortinget" (in Norwegian). Stortinget.no. 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  3. ^ Bystydzienski, Jill M. (1995). Women in electoral politics: lessons from Norway. London: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 32. ISBN 0-275-95108-1.