Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was a Swedish parliamentarian and the first woman to represent the Communist party of Sweden in parliament. She was also an active trade unionist and head of the Svenska Kommunalarbetareförbundet (SKAF) (Swedish municipal workers’ association) in Gothenburg.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was born in Gamlestan (the old town) of Gothenburg in 1902. She was one of ten children. Her mother was Alma Johansdotter. Her father, Olof Rönn, worked as a streetlighter. Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was married to metalworker and supervisor Bertil Christiansson during the years of 1934–1949. They had a daughter together called Randi.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson’s working life began as home-help when she was just a teenager. She later worked at a confectioners in Gothenburg. In 1925 she became employed as a hospital-laundry assistant at the Sahlgrenska hospital. She continued working there until she retired. When she began her job at the hospital-laundry she joined Svenska Kommunalarbetareförbundet. She quickly became an active trade unionist and served on the board of the local branch from 1926–1928, and subsequently as its secretary in 1935. It was through Svenska Kommunalarbetareförbundet that she gained her knowledge of basic politics.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson joined the Communist party of Sweden when she was quite young, while she was working at the confectioners. Later she became elected onto Göteborgs Kommunistiska Arbetarkommun (Gothenburg communist labour commune) of which she was a member from 1930–1932. In 1936 she was appointed as her party’s representative to folkskolestyrelsen (public schools authority). She was first elected into the second chamber of parliament during the 1936 elections and was then twice mandated to represent the communists, from 1937–1940 and from 1945–1948. The impending Second World War, along with the imminent Soviet attack on Finland, led to the Communist party losing votes in the 1940 election. As a result Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was one of those who lost their parliamentary seat. She then became a member of Gothenburg city council, where she sat from 1943–1946. At the end of the war the Communist party regained some of their voters and their parliamentary mandate increased, bringing Solveig Rönn-Christiansson back into a seat.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was very active during her time in parliament despite not being on any committees. Gaining access to the committees – which was and still is a vital part of parliamentary activity – is proportionately determined according to the size of a party’s mandate. The Communist party often formed too small a group in order to gain access. Solveig Rönn-Christiansson wrote 30 motions throughout her time in parliament, mainly on matters of social policy and trade union issues. Her motions spanned a range of areas, from the right to anaesthesia during childbirth, equal pay for the same jobs, and educational issues. These were all areas within which she had personal knowledge and experience, either through her trade unionism or through municipal politics. Solveig Rönn-Christiansson raised five parliamentary questions on matters including banning public-school teachers from using corporal punishment on children, planned evacuations in times of aerial attack, as well as the running of a sulphate factory.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson’s political activism in Gothenburg city and in parliament often involved educational matters and in 1945 she was appointed to the textbook commission, a task she remained engaged in until 1953.
Following her time in parliament Solveig Rönn-Christiansson returned to working as a doorperson at the Sahlgrenska hospital. She gave up this job in 1949 and then focused on popular education within
the Arbetarnas bildningsförbund (ABF) (workers’ education association). She also served as a Gothenburg councillor until 1953.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson was a well-known and well-liked figure within the workers’ movement in Gothenburg. She was active both within the Communist party and the more Social Democratic inspired trade union movement. When she had finished her political career she made use of her knowledge of practical politics by teaching within the ABF.
Solveig Rönn-Christiansson died in 1982.