About the name Widerström

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The office block called the Widerström Building (Widerströmska huset) at the Solna Campus has been named after the pioneer Karolina Widerström - Sweden's first female doctor. Doctor Widerström was known for her medical work and for her commitment to women's rights.

Doctor Widerström - first female doctor in Sweden

Karolina Widerström was born in 1856 in Helsingborg, the only daughter of Otto Fredrik Widerström and Olivia Erika Dillén.

In 1884 she became the first woman to obtain a licentiate degree in medicine at the Karolinska Institutet. Four years later, in 1888, she became Sweden's first licensed female doctor specializing in women's medicine and gynecology. The following year she opened a gynaecological reception in Stockholm, which became hugely popular - women queued outside the waiting room to meet the female doctor.

Advocated sex education

Doctor Widerström was an early advocate of sex education. In 1889, she wrote an essay on "The female sex organs, their functions and common diseases" and published pictures of genitalia  something that was very daring at the time. While she encouraged sex education at an early age, she also thought it important for young people to hear about all the positive aspects of sexuality. In 1897, doctor Widerström taught female teachers and teenage girls in sex education.

Teaching was then spread to schools and seminars, and in 1907, sex education was introduced in almost every girls' schools in Stockholm.

Women's protagonist

In addition to her committed work in the sex education field, doctor Widerström was also involved in other matters concerning women's rights. She was very dedicated in the fight against prostitution and advocated social protection for unmarried mothers. She also worked with helping abused and battered women. Doctor Widerström was a pioneer in many ways, both in her professional work as well as in the political arena. Her commitment to women's rights continued until her death in 1949.


KI.se: The 19th century: From Karl XIII to Alfred Nobel

Historiesajten.se: Karolina Widerström

Ottar.se: Karolina Widerström

Om Fruängen: Livet på Doktor Widergrens gata