Norwegian Association for Women's Rights

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Norwegian Association for Women's Rights
Logo of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights.png
Formation28 June 1884; 135 years ago (1884-06-28)
FoundersGina Krog and Hagbart Berner
TypePolitical advocacy
HeadquartersMajorstuen, Oslo
Karin M. Bruzelius
AffiliationsInternational Alliance of Women, Norwegian Women's Lobby, Forum for Women and Development

The Norwegian Association for Women's Rights (Norwegian: Norsk Kvinnesaksforening; NKF) is a Norwegian nonpartisan political advocacy organisation and Norway's oldest and preeminent women's and girls' rights organisation.

It was founded in 1884 on the initiative of Gina Krog and Hagbart Berner by 171 prominent women and men, including five Norwegian Prime Ministers. Its basic principle is that full and equal enjoyment of human rights is due to all women and girls, and it works to advance women's social, economic and political situation in Norway as well as internationally. Historically associated with the Liberal Party, NKF is today broadly representative of the political spectrum. The association has always been Norway's most important mainstream feminist or liberal feminist organisation and has successfully campaigned for women’s right to education, the right to vote, the right to work, the adoption of the 1978 Gender Equality Act and the establishment of what is now the Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud. In line with its roots in 19th century first-wave liberal feminism, political and legal reform remains its primary focus, and it has always concentrated on lobbying government bodies in a professional way; since the 1970s the implementation of the CEDAW convention has been a major issue. In 1896 the association also founded the Norwegian Women's Public Health Association, a humanitarian organisation whose membership reached 250,000.

The current President is Karin M. Bruzelius, a former Supreme Court Justice on the Supreme Court of Norway. NKF is a member of the International Alliance of Women (IAW), which has general consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and participatory status with the Council of Europe. NKF is also a member of the Norwegian Women's Lobby and of the Forum for Women and Development, and initiated the establishment of both organisations. Several of NKF's early leaders, among them the noted humanitarian Fredrikke Marie Qvam, were married to Norwegian prime ministers. Its postwar leaders include Liberal Party leader and cabinet minister Eva Kolstad and the former chairman of UNICEF, Torild Skard. Its honorary members include Camilla Collett and Norway's first female Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. NKF's offices are located at Majorstuen in Oslo. NKF has always been open to both women and men.


NKF's current offices in Majorstuveien 39 in the borough of Frogner in central Oslo
NKF's founder Gina Krog, a liberal politician and the principal leader of the struggle for women's right to vote in Norway

The organisation was founded in 1884 by 171 prominent Norwegians, led by the liberal politician and women's rights pioneer Gina Krog and liberal Member of Parliament and the first editor-in-chief of Dagbladet Hagbart Berner. From its establishment and well into the 20th century, the organisation was strongly associated with the Liberal Party; its 171 founders included several Norwegian Prime Ministers, leaders of the Liberal Party and many liberal Members of Parliament as well as the editors of the large liberal newspapers and public figures such as novelist Alexander Kielland. Three of the first Presidents of the organisation, Anna Stang, Randi Blehr and Fredrikke Marie Qvam, were all wives of Norwegian Prime Ministers. Membership has always been open to both men and women.

Among the important causes that the NKF has campaigned for are women's suffrage (achieved in 1913), the right to work (in the 1930s), abolishment of the common taxing for spouses (the 1950s), right to equal schooling (the 1960s), the establishment of the Council for Equality between the Sexes (Norwegian: Likestillingsrådet) 1972, later replaced by the Centre for Equality between the Sexes (1977), later by the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud (2006). Members of the organization, such as its long-time chairman Eva Kolstad, who served on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, also pioneered United Nations gender equality policies.

The association also initiated the establishment of the Norwegian Women's Public Health Association (Norwegian: Norske Kvinners Sanitetsforening), a humanitarian organisation, which grew to become Norway's largest women's organisation with around 250,000 members at one point. Historically, the NKF was the most important association of the Norwegian bourgeois (or liberal) women's movement (associated chiefly with the Liberal Party), in contrast to the labour women's movement (associated with the Labour Party). Today, it is a nonpartisan organisation, focusing on women's political, legal and human rights as well as equal opportunities, and on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in particular.

The NKF has co-operated with the National Association for Women's Suffrage and later with the Norwegian National Women's Council. Some of the prominent post-war leaders were Eva Kolstad, who later became a cabinet minister, leader of the Liberal Party and the world's first Gender Equality Ombud, former UNICEF Chairman Torild Skard, and supreme court justice Karin M. Bruzelius who became President for the second time in 2018.[1]

The Norwegian Association for Women's Rights has been affiliated with the International Alliance of Women (IAW) since 1904 and is a member of the Norwegian Women's Lobby and the Forum for Women and Development. It addresses the United Nations Economic and Social Council through its IAW membership.

The organisation had its offices in Sehesteds gate 1 in Oslo for many years, and now has its offices in Majorstuveien 39 at Majorstuen in central Oslo.

Elisabeth Lønnå describes NKF by 1970 as "an almost dignified organisation" that had its "origins in the Liberal Party and had a liberal platform, centered on the main idea of equality for all citizens and based on the idea of fundamental human rights." Lønnå notes that NKF had long traditions, a clearly defined form of organisation, an established network and well formulated policies and principles, and that it spent most of its resources on lobbying government bodies in a professional way. While NKF was influenced by the second wave of feminism during the 1970s, it was the "only feminist organisation that was primarily based on the idea of gender equality." In contrast to the many new feminist organisations that sprung up in the 1970s but quickly lost most of their membership, NKF was strengthened in the 1980s.[2]


Karin M. Bruzelius, the incumbent President, is a former Supreme Court Justice and became the first female Permanent Secretary in Norway in 1989
  1. Hagbart Berner 1884–1885
  2. Anna Stang 1885–1886
  3. Ragna Nielsen 1886–1888
  4. Anna Bugge 1888–1889
  5. Ragna Nielsen 1889–1895
  6. Randi Blehr 1895–1899
  7. Fredrikke Marie Qvam 1899–1903
  8. Randi Blehr 1903–1922
  9. Aadel Lampe 1922–1926
  10. Fredrikke Mørck 1926–1930
  11. Anna Hvoslef 1930–1935
  12. Kitty Bugge 1935–1936
  13. Margarete Bonnevie 1936–1946
  14. Dakky Kiær 1946–1952
  15. Ingerid Gjøstein Resi 1952–1955
  16. Marit Aarum 1955–1956
  17. Signe Swensson 1956
  18. Eva Kolstad 1956–1968
  19. Clara Ottesen 1968–1972
  20. Kari Skjønsberg 1972–1978
  21. Karin M. Bruzelius 1978–1984
  22. Sigrun Hoel 1984–1988
  23. Irene Bauer 1988–1990
  24. Siri Hangeland 1990–1992
  25. Bjørg Krane Bostad 1992–1994
  26. Kjellaug Pettersen 1994–1998
  27. Siri Hangeland 1998–2004
  28. Berit Kvæven 2004–2006
  29. Torild Skard 2006–2013
  30. Margunn Bjørnholt 2013–2016
  31. Marit Nybakk 2016–2018
  32. Karin M. Bruzelius 2016–2018

NKF's awards[edit]

NKF's highest honour is its honorary membership, which was first awarded to Camilla Collett in 1884 and last awarded to Norway's first female Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in 2016. Since 2009 NKF also awards the Gina Krog Prize, named after its founder.

Honorary members[edit]

Camilla Collett, who was named an honorary member in 1884

Gina Krog Prize[edit]

Since 2009, the association has awarded the Gina Krog Prize, named after its founder Gina Krog.

The prize has been awarded to


  1. ^ Høyesterettsdommer ny leder i Norsk Kvinnesaksforening, Norwegian News Agency
  2. ^ Elisabeth Lønnå: Stolthet og kvinnekamp: Norsk kvinnesaksforenings historie fra 1913 (pp. 228–229), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1996, ISBN 8205244952
  3. ^ "Gro Harlem Brundtland utnevnt til æresmedlem av Norsk Kvinnesaksforening". Norwegian Association for Women's Rights. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Helga Hernes æresmedlem i NKF". Norwegian Association for Women's Rights. 12 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.


External links[edit]