Kaj Andersson was a journalist and newspaper founder with a focus on women’s issues and social policy.
As a new-born Kaj Andersson moved with her parents into the house, or rather quarter, known as Tegeltraven (“the brick stack”), near what is now Fridhemsplan, but at the time was the outskirts of Kungsholmen. The area consisted of tidy working class homes and there the young family lived in a single room with a kitchen, along with two roommates. The family moved when Kaj Andersson was ten years old to other accommodation, where her sister Margit was born in 1907.
After attending Kungsholm school from 1904 to 1911 and Kungsholm high school for girls from 1911 to 1914, Kaj Andersson initially worked as a bookshop assistant and then as an office girl, before applying to the daily newspaper Social-Demokraten in 1916. She probably contacted Hjalmar Branting at the paper and he gave her the opportunity to try her hand at journalism. She began as a reporter with an early interest in reporting on the workplace and writing social commentary. She was also sent abroad on foreign news missions but her talent as editor quickly became apparent and she became responsible for the newspaper’s Sunday supplements.
In 1930 Kaj Andersson and her colleague Bernhard Greitz left Social-Demokraten in order to set up their own paper, Fönstret. There was only enough funding to cover one employee and thus Kaj moved on in 1931 to work at the Social Democratic women’s association’s periodical Morgonbris, where she was the editor from 1932 to 1936. It was during her time there that Kaj Andersson established her name as a journalist. She rebranded what had been a members’ newsletter into a contemporary and relevant periodical with a modern format, advanced use of imagery and radical contents. Despite this, Kaj Andersson left this post after the women’s association’s conference in 1936 – her modern take on the working woman as a housewife met with resistance, and she appears to have been too modern for Morgonbris. Kaj Andersson then worked for six months as the editor of a commercial weekly magazine, Våra Damer, which she wanted to turn into “the housewife’s trusted advisor and the child’s ingenious friend”. She ended her fleeting visit to the sphere of commercial magazines in 1937 just as Åhlén & Söner shut down Våra Damer.
After spending a couple of years serving as director of information at Aktiv hushållning (a public service for householders) during the Second World War, and then at Svenska slöjdförening (the Swedish Society of Industrial Design) where she hoped to raise interest in good housekeeping, Kaj Andersson returned to the sphere of journalism. She was editor of the Fredrika Bremer Association’s magazine Hertha from 1948 to 1957 and her time as an employee ended at the periodical Sociala Meddelanden where she was an editor from 1958 to 1966. She enjoyed great success there, at least in the eyes of many readers. Grandly produced thematic (and increasingly delayed, as became apparent) editions were well-received, particularly when Kaj Andersson was awarded Åhlen & Åkerlund’s periodical prize for her work, “for her unique and highly-regarded journalistic achievements and for her groundbreaking input into the world of social journalism”. The authorities on the National Board of Health and Welfare were less impressed by her poor economic management and planning with regard to the periodical. She retired in 1966.
Retirement did not prevent her from staying active in her favourite spheres, namely social policy and journalism. She was appointed publication editor for the book Samarbete över muren which was published in 1967 and dealt with the reality of the prison service. Subsequently, Kaj Andersson and Erik Ransemar were asked to edit the book Att vara handikappad, published in 1969. She maintained her interest in journalism and during the 1970s she participated in studies on how to keep various newspapers going in the A-press run by the social democrats.
Near the end of her life Kaj Andersson returned to the house where she had lived as a child. She lived alone in an apartment which was larger than the one she had inhabited with her parents and roommates at the turn of the century.
Kaj Andersson died in 1991.