Doris Håvik was a female parliamentarian for the Social-Democratic party who was active in the Nordic and European councils, and who was also a delegate to the United Nations.
Doris Håvik was born in the Majorna quarter of Gothenburg. Her parents were Oscar and Ida Jansson. Her father was a tramway employee and was an active union man. Having completed her schooling Doris Håvik then applied to the Majorna elementary training school for girls. This was a seven-year programme which led to a normal school-teaching qualification. She then began to work at the Gothenburg health insurance agency in 1943, gaining further experience and also becoming involved in union activity. From 1946 until 1984 Doris Håvik worked at Försäkringskassan (National Insurance office). In 1945 she married Ingemar Håvik, who was a member of the Swedish Social-Democratic youth association (SSU) and also active in the union and politically. Together they had a son called Malte. Whilst on maternity leave Doris Håvik took a correspondence course in social work.
When Doris Håvik returned to work at Försäkringskassan a lot had changed within the insurance agency. Mandatory health insurance had become law in 1955 and a universal supplementary pension (ATP) had been introduced in 1960. Around this time Doris Håvik became a member of Försäkringskassans förbund (national insurance agency’s association) and in 1959 she joined the Social-Democratic party. She was quickly given municipal duties within the child welfare board and the social welfare board. She was also asked to give talks by women’s organisations, union groups, and local city organisations across western Sweden in order to spread knowledge of the new national insurance system. She became well-known and well-liked for her expertise and was asked to stand for election to parliament. Following the Social-Democratic party’s victory in the 1968 general election she was elected into the second chamber of parliament.
Doris Håvik was an active and successful parliamentarian. Searching parliamentary records for her name produces 991 hits. During the 1971-1993 period she was a member (and chair from 1985 to 1991) of the national social insurance committee in which she made her major and most significant contributions. She herself has emphasised how important expertise and working experience are in terms of seeking to influence issues dealt with by the committee. For example, she discovered that ancient laws in no way reflected modern social conditions in regard to child welfare provision for the children of unmarried women and the development of widow’s pensions.
Doris Håvik used her virgin speech in parliament to highlight the rights of oppressed and poor women and this remained a core issue throughout her parliamentary career. She was also a frequent writer of motions and propositions with regard to Gothenburg. For example, she suggested turning the Röhsska museum in to an ‘ansvarsmuseum’ (a museum which had an element of government engagement), the establishment of more training and research areas at the Handelshögskola (school of economics), the establishment of a legal school in Gothenburg, the creation of research posts within the social welfare sphere, and the increase in allocations to scientific libraries.
Doris Håvik also worked at an international level. She was a member of the war committee from 1991-1994 and on the EG (European community) committee from 1993-1994. She also spent 12 years working for the Nordic Council and between 1982 and 1984 she was on the European Council. On both of these councils she was a member of the social welfare committees. She was an ordinary member of the Committee of Social, Family and Health Affairs from 1982 and later became its chair. From 1976-1981 she was a Swedish delegate to the United Nations in New York, again on the social welfare committee.
In 1995 Doris Håvik received the royal medal of the eighth degree of the Seraphim Order blue ribbon. In 1987 Doris Håvik was given the Pro Arte et Scientia award by Gothenburg university and in 1989 she was awarded the Gothenburg city merit badge.
Doris Håvik died in 2009. She is buried at Värö cemetery.