Randi Marie Blehr

(1851-1928)

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Who?

Among our most prominent activists for women’s right to vote. Active feminist and peace worker, and worked to improve the status of housework and traditionally feminine handcrafts. Was among the founders of several women’s associations.

Where?

Grew up in Bergen. Lived in various places on the west coast and in the north, but moved to Kristiania (former name of Oslo) when her husband, Otto Blehr, was made a Member of Parliament and later Prime Minister. Also stayed in Stockholm for a time. Her husband was the brother of Dagny Juel’s mother Minda, and the couple therefore had connections both to Kongsvinger and to Rolighed.

What?

Randi Blehr was one of the founders ofNorsk Kvinnesaksforening(The Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights) in 1884. As the Association’s leader from 1895 to 1899 and 1903 to 1922, she changed its course to what she called “the practical line”. She emphazised ways to improve women’s economic and social conditions. Her target audience was working class women and the housewives of the lower middle class. Blehr wanted to professionalize housework through education. She also made efforts to recreate the old Norwegian textile art. She created the first Norwegian tapestry school, and cooperated with tapestry artist Frida Hansen, contributing to her international breakthrough.


In 1905, Blehr took the initiative to a nationwide campaign for several female associations to show their support for the dissolution of the union. All in all, 565 associations participated. At the same time, she worked with Swedish feminists to help secure a peaceful solution to the union conflict.

Main project:

Randi Blehr wanted women and housewives to have their “rightful seat on society’s board”. She was convinced that professionalization of women’s work would strengthen women’s confidence Their efforts would help improve respect for Norwegian culture and play a part in the building of a nation.