Christine Malmström Barke was a central figure in the Swedish “lotta” movement (the Swedish Women’s Voluntary Defence Service), which included serving as the national head of the service during the years 1978-1986.
Christine Malmström Barke was the daughter of Carola Ingeborg Nordström and major-general Anders C. Gson Nordström. As an eighteen-year-old she joined the “lotta” movement, where she initially worked as assistant secretary for the Stockholm “lotta” corps and did military service training. Two decades later, in 1972, she was elected deputy-head of the service and in 1978 she succeeded Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister as national head of the service.
In her role as the national “lotta” head Christine Malmström Barke was also chairperson of the board of the “lotta” executive committee. Along with the secretary-general she comprised the “lotta” movement’s top tier. Further to running the organisation she also made a name for herself within the “lotta” movement’s training system: she produced training materials, initiated new courses and instructed.
From 1975 to 1980 Christine Malmström Barke was a member of the national “Beredning för det fortsatta arbetet om kvinnan i försvaret” (commission for continued work on behalf of women in the defence) committee, which was tasked with expanding employment opportunities for women in the Swedish defence. The work of this committee prepared the ground for the parliamentary resolution to remove all formal obstacles to women’s participation in the national defence, including the barriers preventing women from becoming officers.
In 1986, after eight years as head of the national service, Christine Malmström Barke resigned. She was awarded several commendations for her work, including the Royal Order of the Seraphim gold medal of the 8th degree, and she was also made an honorary member of the Swedish “lotta” corps.
Once she had resigned from the “lotta” movement Christine Malmström Barke continued to work for the Swedish national defence by serving as section director at the National Defence headquarters.
Christine Malmström Barke died in 2003 at the age of 71. She is buried at Vomb cemetery in Veberöd parish.