Van Grippenberg, Alexandra (1859–1913)

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Van Grippenberg, Alexandra (1859–1913)

Finnish feminist and legislator. Name variations: Baroness Alexandra Van Grippenberg. Born in 1859; died in 1913.

Baroness Alexandra Van Grippenberg was a member of the temperance movement, and in 1884 was a founding member of the Finsk Kvinneførening (Finnish Women's Association). As a leader of the association, she headed an all-encompassing campaign for educational, professional, and political equality, and advocated feminist reforms of property rights, divorce laws, and the abolition of state-regulated prostitution. This broad-based campaign contrasted sharply with that of Lucina Hagman , which focused solely on women's suffrage.

In 1883, Van Grippenberg attended the Women's Congress in Washington, D.C., that had been organized by Susan B. Anthony . After the formation of the International Council of Women in 1889, Van Grippenberg became vicepresident. She concentrated on educating women to be wise political participants after they won the vote in Finland in 1906.

In 1909, she was elected a member of the Finnish Diet, where she argued against legislation protecting women, on the grounds that total equality between the sexes would not be achieved if either of them received special protection. In 1912, she founded the Finnish National Council of Women and was elected its first president. She died one year later.

Kelly Winters , freelance writer