Anna Rogstad. Photo: National Library of Norway

Anna Rogstad. Photo: National Library of Norway

The Storting honours its female pioneers

A century has passed since female representation became a permanent feature of life in the Storting. To mark this historic milestone in Norwegian democracy, the Presidium has made the decision to have a statue of Anna Rogstad erected in Eidsvolls plass and has commissioned a new portrait of Karen Platou to be hung in the Storting.

“Rogstad and Platou were pioneers. Our wish is to use the centenary of permanent female representation in parliament to give these women their rightful place in history and in our collective consciousness,” said Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, President of the Storting.

In 2021, it will be one hundred years since Karen Platou was elected as the first female MP to have a regular seat in the Storting. Ten years earlier, Anna Rogstad made the initial breakthrough when she took her seat in the Chamber as a Substitute MP.

“Platou and Rogstad have paved the way for us, and we stand on their shoulders. We will be forever grateful to them,” said Eva Kristin Hansen, First Vice President of the Storting.

Karen Platou. Photo: Storting
Karen Platou. Photo: Storting

‒ An important step

“Today, there are sculptures of five men in Eidsvolls plass, but not a single woman. We believe it is fitting that Anna Rogstad, as the first female MP in the Chamber, should take her rightful place in front of the Storting,” Trøen added. “We have a long way to go before we even up this imbalance, but it’s an important step in the right direction.”

“Women are also severely underrepresented in the Storting’s portrait collection. There are currently only five paintings of female MPs. It’s high time we had more portraits of female Members. As the first regular female MP, Karen Platou is a natural choice,” said Hansen.

The aim is for the statue of Rogstad to be ready in 2023. The portrait of Platou will be unveiled on 11th January 2022, exactly 100 years after she met in the Storting for the first time.

The Storting is planning to invite artists to compete for the two prestigious assignments. It will be aided in its work by KORO, the government agency responsible for public art in Norway.

A Teacher and an architect 

Anna Rogstad was a pioneer of the women’s movement in Norway, and was a key figure in the fight for women’s suffrage. She represented the Liberal Left Party in the Storting. Rogstad was a teacher, one of her primary concerns being working conditions for female teachers. School policy was also important in her later political career.

Karen Platou, a member of the Conservative Party, was an architect by profession, one of few woman in Norway to be so at the time. She was active in the efforts to improve women’s career opportunities. Her background in the conservative housewives association also meant that questions relating to the home and the position of the housewife in society lay close to her political heart. Platou was elected to the Storting in 1921, but had served as a Substitute MP since 1920.

Last updated: 14.12.2020 12:34