Nancy Eriksson was a parliamentarian of the Social Democratic party who rebelled against the party line with regard to Swedish nuclear weapons. She also pushed the demand for Sweden to become a republic and successfully prevented plans to develop the Vindel River.
Nancy Eriksson was born in 1907 in Gladsaxe, Denmark. She was the daughter of Hulda Josefina Karolina Bondesson. Her mother was Swedish but had moved to Copenhagen in order to keep her pregnancy secret. When Nancy Eriksson was born her mother placed an advert in Skånska Dagbladet in search of a family who wanted “a sweet, healthy and good little girl as their own free of charge”. A childless couple in Malmö, cabbie Johan Bengtsson and his wife Matilda, responded to the advert and happily accepted the girl into their home.
Nancy Eriksson was a talented girl who had already taught herself to read by the age of five. There were no books in her home and the family finances were unstable, but the municipal “mellanskola” (lower secondary school) did not demand tuition fees and, after passing an entrance test, Nancy Eriksson gained admission. She subsequently sat her secondary school-leaving certificate there. As she continued her studies at high school her father had to borrow money in order to cover the fees and the book expenses. Both parents took on extra jobs in order to finance their daughter’s studies. Nancy Eriksson dreamt of becoming a teacher, but financial difficulties meant that she trained to become a nurse instead, an education which included cheap bed and board at Södra Sveriges sjuksköterskehem (nurses’ accommodation) in Lund. Nancy Eriksson became a laboratory nurse and got her first job at Jönköping hospital.
After Nancy Eriksson had started working she joined Sveriges socialdemokratiska ungdomsförbund (SSU, Swedish Social Democratic Youth League) and became, as she herself described it, “probably the party’s first member who was a qualified nurse”. It was not long before she met Torsten Eriksson. They married in 1933, and had their first child together the following year. Nancy Eriksson’s political career also began at this time. She soon became part of Jönköping municipal board and also became chair of the women’s association. In 1936 she and her family moved to Stockholm and Nancy Eriksson first joined Södra kvinnoklubben and subsequently, after another move, she joined Stockholms allmänna kvinnoklubb, where she met many of the leading female Social Democratic in Stockholm. She was elected onto the municipal board in Stockholm in 1942, and in 1948 she was also elected into the second chamber of parliament.
Nancy Eriksson became known for being a belligerent and class-conscious female parliamentarian. She was not afraid of countering either the party or general public opinion. She was one of the leading female figureheads in opposition to Swedish nuclear weapons, a movement which had been started by the Social Democratic women’s association. When this association sought to replace Inga Thorsson as chair in 1964 Nancy Eriksson put herself forward. At the time she was a member of the association’s executive committee. That same year Nancy Eriksson had published a book entitled Bara en hemmafru, where she expressed her pity for those housewives who were soon to be forced out of their homes in search of a career to provide for themselves like their male counterparts as a result of the current gender debate. Nancy Eriksson believed that she had been misunderstood and that the public had missed the irony in her title. She was not appointed chair of the women’s association, and the official reason given was her age.
Nancy Eriksson remained a member of parliament from 1949 to 1973. To her great disappointment she was not re-elected in 1973 because she had been struck off the list of Stockholm candidates due to her age. She nevertheless carried on as a politician in the Stockholm municipal council for another six years.
When Nancy Eriksson was forced to give up her seat in parliament she began to write her memoirs. She was, however, prevented from completing these by new political commitments. Her memoirs, entitled Nancy. Nancy Eriksson minns, were posthumously published in 1985 by her daughter Birgitta Bergmark.
Nancy Eriksson died in Stockholm in 1984 and is buried at the Norra cemetery in Solna.