The female student pioneers

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

Recently last week was the international women’s day. A day of importance and much history. Today most women have the right to study and vote, but that has not always been the case. The university was for quite long a man’s world, but that changed in the late 1800:s. The same time women fought for their right to vote.

Hildegard Björck

One of the pioneers happened to come from Värmland and was a member of Wermlands in both Uppsala and Lund. Her name was Hildegard Björck. She had the ambition of becoming a doctor and seized the opportunity to go to university in 1870, but was first signed up in Uppsala. There she became one of Sweden’s first Female students to graduate with a bachelor in medicine. After a while she went to Lund in 1880 to get her medical license degree, but was unfortunately caught by the irony of fate. Just as she was about to graduate, she became ill in measles and could not finish her license degree. She did not graduate, but had other thoughts in mind on how to make an impact on the future. Hildegard possessed a huge private library with knowledge of all sorts. Predominantly philosophy and literature. She was one of the first students and wanted to pass on her legacy to future students. Therefore as a token of goodwill, she donated the whole library to a female student accommodation in Lund.

Hedda Andersson

The other pioneer was Hedda Andersson. She is more renowned as the first student, but she wasn’t. She did however graduate as the first female student in Lund in the 1880:s. Hedda came from a background with a lot of medical knowledge and expertise. Most of her expert relatives, who were women, often became accused of quackery, which means that you are accused of practicing something you do not have permission to do. None of them could educate themselves, but they thought Hedda should not be accused of the same thing for helping her fellows. Therefore they sent her to Lund when the opportunity finally came. Unlike Björck, she graduated and could call herself a doctor. She specialized in women and children deceases. Miss Andersson was very devoted in helping the poor and sick. She also became an active voice in women’s voting rights campaigns. Today she is remembered in Lund by having an upcoming high school named after her and there is also a visiting scholar professorship in her name at the university.

You can read about these two students and many more famous people around the university in the archivist Fredrik Tersmedens book Lundensare: universitetsöden under 350 år. Also, don´t forget to share your awesome thoughts and ideas with us. Do so by sending an article to us at! // Johan

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