Alva Myrdal

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Alva Myrdal (1968)

Alva Myrdal , ( pronunciation : [ ˌalːva ˈmyːɖɑːl ]), b. Reimer (born January 31, 1902 in Uppsala , † February 1, 1986 in Danderyd ) was a Swedish sociologist , politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate .


Alva and Gunnar Myrdal in the study of their house (1945)
Alva Myrdal in front of her family home in Stockholm (1945)
Alva Myrdal at the award ceremony of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1970

Myrdal came from a family with strong sympathies for social democratic politics. Immediately after graduating from high school, she enrolled at Stockholm University for philosophy , psychology and social sciences. She also took these subjects in Uppsala, London , Leipzig and Geneva .

In 1924 she married the economist and social scientist Gunnar Myrdal . With him she had a son and two daughters: the later writer Jan Myrdal , the American ethics professor Sissela Bok and the social scientist Kaj Fölster .

From 1936 to 1948 she headed the social pedagogical seminar she founded in Stockholm. At that time she had become known far beyond the country's borders as a social reformer. Some of her ideas were carried out by the Swedish Workers' Party , of which she and her husband Gunnar Myrdal belonged from 1932.

Between 1945 and 1947, Myrdal published the multilingual refugee magazine Via Suecia , and from 1946 to 1948 she was the editor of the Round table on social problems . She spoke several languages, but her books and speeches were all published in English.

After the war, Myrdal was instrumental in shaping the Swedish welfare state. She also represented her country at international conferences: ILO conference in Paris in 1945 and in Geneva in 1947 , UNESCO conference in Paris in 1946 and New Delhi in 1956 a . a.

From 1951 to 1955 Myrdal was a senior executive at UNESCO and in 1956 was sent to India and Ceylon as her country's ambassador . In 1961 she was appointed to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from 1962 was elected as a member of the Swedish parliament.

Alva Myrdal died on February 1, 1986 in Stockholm at the age of 84.


Works (selection)

  • Crisis in the Population Problem (1934)
  • The Game of Disarmament (1976)
  • The missing father (1936)
  • Nation and Family (1941)
  • Post War Planning (1976)
  • Women's Two Roles (1956) with Viola Klein ["three-phase model" to reconcile work and family]


  • Heike Brandt: And giving up is not worthy of man. In: Charlotte Kerner : Not only Madame Curie - women who got the Nobel Prize. Beltz Verlag, Weinheim / Basel 1999, ISBN 3-407-80862-3 .
  • Yvonne Hirdman: Alva Myrdal. The Passionate Mind . Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2008, ISBN 978-0-253-35132-6 .
  • Thomas Etzemüller: "The Romanticism of Rationality". Alva & Gunnar Myrdal - Social Engineering in Sweden. Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1270-7 .

Web links

Commons : Alva Myrdal  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. Member History: Alva Myrdal. American Philosophical Society, accessed February 4, 2019 .
  3. See Iris Carstensen: Review of: Yvonne, Hirdman: Alva Myrdal. The passionate mind.Bloomington 2008 . In: H-Soz-u-Kult. February 22, 2010.