Britt Mogård was a central figure within the emerging Moderate party policies of the 1960s and 1970s. She was the Minister for Education and her contributions to the Moderate party women’s association paved the way for many more Moderate party women to achieve high-ranking posts within both the world of politics and wider society.
Britt Mogård was born in Hedesunda in 1922. She was the daughter of Johannes Östlund, a priest, and his wife Tora. Britt Mogård grew up in Tierp and gained her school-leaving certificate in Uppsala, where she boarded during her high school years. From 1941–1942 she was a student at Uppsala university. Her education was suspended upon the death of her father in 1943 and she started working at the Akademiska sjukhuset (hospital) repository in Uppsala. When she returned to studying in 1944 she alternated this with relief teaching, working at Kristidstyrelsen (the crisis management agency) and Kronofogdekontoret (the enforcement agency). In 1946 she married Einar Mogård. She completed her university studies the following year and the couple then moved to Kalix where Britt Mogård worked as a teacher at the public college and at the secondary school.
Three years later the couple returned to Stockholm. Britt Mogård applied to Radiotjänst (radio service) where she monitored press clips about the radio. After giving birth to two boys she spent seven years being a stay-at-home mother. The family settled in Botkyrka, where Britt Mogård continued to live after her divorce from Einar Mogård in 1970.
Britt Mogård began working as a teacher at Botkyrka high school in 1960. That same year she joined Högerpartiet (the right-wing party) and became active within municipal politics in Botkyrka. In 1962 she was elected onto the municipal council and two years later she was chair for the Botkyrka högerförening (right-wing party society) and a member of the association board within the party association in Stockholm region.
Britt Mogård understood the significance of leadership, organisation, and strategy in order to make enterprise more effective. When she was chair of Botkyrka högerförening the members were activated within working groups, campaign groups, and by informing them on the party’s policies.
Britt Mogård took a very active role within the party programme, serving as a Stockholm region association delegate at the party conferences, from 1962 onwards. She was appointed secretary of the working group for culture and education when the 1968 party programme was being produced. Thus she created a position for herself within the sphere of national policy. In 1969 Britt Mogård entered the second chamber of parliament.
Britt Mogård was elected chair of the Moderata kvinnoförbundet (MKF) (Moderate party women’s association) in 1972. MKF became an association which pulsated with activity under her leadership. Its members were formed into working groups which generated programmes for almost every political sphere. Their proposals were then discussed by all the societies within MKF. The Moderate party women’s views and proposals would then be disseminated in motions, polemical articles, measures and campaigns. Britt Mogård saw to it that events that might generate media attention were arranged. In many ways she became a role model for the ensuing generations of Moderate party women politicians.
Britt Mogård campaigned for Moderate party policies and also campaigned to create a place for women and MKF’s viewpoints within the party. She understood that ambitious strategies and strong networks were required in order to get more women to be active within the party organisation within elected conventions and in decision-making positions. MKF began a training programme in running societies, leadership, rhetoric, and politics for its members and trustees. Through Aktion MKF candidates for parliamentary elections were given training in leadership, in how to market themselves, and how to deal with the media. Each county association had to support a female candidate for the next election. In this way Britt Mogård paved the way for all the later Moderate party women who became parliamentarians, municipal council members, ministers, and even party leaders.
Britt Mogård was an acerbic, humorous, and very well-read parliamentary debater. She frequently composed motions focused on culture and educational matters, but she also wrote proposals on, for example, housing policy and environmental issues such as water treatment, phosphate in laundry cleaning supplies, and flue gas treatments.
In 1971, when the single-chamber parliament was introduced, Britt Mogård served on the culture committee at a time when cultural issues were a highly political subject following the 1960s swing to the left. She represented her party in radio- and TV-debates at a time when these organs were entirely run as a state monopoly. She debated the direction of cultural policy, particularly state support for culture, and she worked towards a cultural policy which sought to promote freedom, diversity, and quality.
Britt Mogård had concrete experiences of schools both in terms of teaching and as a municipal politician. She presented motions on the need for school counsellors and the importance of remedying students’ social problems. She believed that a new allocation system was required in order to have equal standards in schools throughout the land. She claimed that competition and freedom of choice were also necessary in schools and that parents should have the right to choose which school their children attended. She returned to these matters as both a parliamentarian and a minister.
Following a 44-year period of Social Democratic government the conservative parties won the 1976 election. Britt Mogård was appointed Minister of Education in both of Torbjörn Fälldin’s governments, from 1976–1978, and 1979–1981. It became apparent that changing political direction was an enormous challenge when the government offices and departments had not undergone a change in power for such a long time. The new ministers were met with prejudice and misunderstandings with regard to governmental changes. Britt Mogård’s main task was to work on issues in the government’s policy statement including a new marking system, smaller classes, better basic skills and closer ties between schools and the employment world. She instigated an enquiry into norms and values within the schools.
Following the fall of the Fälldin government in 1981 Britt Mogård was returned to parliament until 1982 when she was appointed county governor for Kronoberg. As such she engaged herself in issues concerning the county’s future through the “Kronoberg mot år 2000” project and emphasised the importance of marketing and tourism. One of her much-written about initiatives was Kronoberg-Minnesota which involved an exchange programme within the business sector, culture, and tourism. Kronoberg county was declared a “sister state” of Minnesota.
After she retired Britt Mogård lived in Ösmo, near Nyköping. She died in 2012. She is buried at Tullinge park cemetery in Botkyrka parish.