Eva Moberg was an author, a playwright, and a polemicist. Her essay entitled “Kvinnans villkorliga frigivning” (the conditional release of women) set off the 1960s debate on gender equality.
Eva Moberg was born in 1932. She was the daughter of the author Vilhelm Moberg and his wife Margareta. She grew up in Stockholm, where she gained her school-leaving certificate in 1952. She then went on to read literary studies, history of religions, and practical philosophy at university. In 1963 she gained her licentiate degree in literary studies, having written a dissertation on Kärlek och kön: en studie i Colettes diktning. At this point she had already served as editor of the Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet (association) journal Hertha for two years and she had written the essay which would make her widely known and much discussed in Sweden and which gave her a place within the historiography of the Swedish women’s movement.
Her essay called “Kvinnans villkorliga frigivning”, published in the 1961 Unga liberaler anthology, reinvigorated the recently flagging post-war discussion about the place and situation of women in Swedish society. Eva Moberg had partly written the essay in response to Alva Myrdal’s and Viola Klein’s book Kvinnans två roller, which had been released a year prior. According to those two a woman had two roles – namely that of spouse and mother as well as that of career woman – whilst men only had one role. Eva Moberg disputed this intensely, believing that both men and women had two roles, or that they both only had one role – that of human being – which entailed the moral duty of ensuring that offspring were well-cared for. In her essay Eva Moberg describes the balancing act which women were expected to manage in her essay: on one hand, the view of woman as a career person is a positive one, but on the other hand women were still expected to retain their so-called feminine qualities and to always make themselves appealing to men.
“Kvinnans villkorliga frigivning” was published shortly following the great era of the housewife, namely the 1950s, just as the feminist revolution of the 1960s was about to erupt and the labour market was clamouring for a workforce required to operate the expanded welfare services. It was no longer obvious that women should stay home because now they were needed by the labour market. However, this was only a conditional ‘release’. Women now inhabited a dual space – one as an employed provider for the family and the other as a child-bearer, house-keeper, and an object of beauty.
Eva Moberg’s essay gave rise to an intensive and lengthy debate – a debate which in part still continues today – regarding the status of women and the relationship between men and women within and beyond the family. Just like Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg Eva Moberg considered the women who figured amongst the radical feminist free-thinkers of the Kvinnliga medborgarskolan vid Fogelstad (the female citizens' school) to be her forerunners. As a young journalist Eva Moberg was also the last person to interview Ada Nilsson, the feisty doctor and pioneer of the women’s movement.
Toward the mid-1960s Eva Moberg joined the Grupp 222, a loosely-organised pressure group for equality issues whose members included Annika Baude, Edmund Dahlström, Anita Gradin, Barbro Backberger, and Rita Liljeström. Grupp 222’s and Eva Moberg’s ideas on an egalitarian society also involved criticism of traditional male roles. They not only championed the emancipation of women but of men as well. "Men are better than the male society” was Eva Moberg’s point of departure. It was also the title of a talk that she often gave overseas during the 1990s.
Eva Moberg had a rich career as a journalist, TV-filmmaker, playwright, and children’s book author. She was also editor of the Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet (association) journal Hertha, and cultural editor of the cooperative weekly Vi, from 1967–1976. She was employed as manuscript writer at SVT from 1968–1970 where she wrote a series of remarkable TV-revues and later several stage comedies, amongst other things. During the 1970s she was also active in the anti-nuclear campaign and in many other environmental campaigns as well as the fight for animal rights.
From 1976 until 1992 Eva Moberg was a columnist for Dagens Nyheter. Her columns tended to concern social problems, politics, and ethical issues. They often generated a lot of attention and debate. She was given many positive awards, both international and domestic, such as the Hiroshima Peace Prize in 1990, Årets väckarklocka (wake-up call of the year) in 1994, and the Torgny Segerstedts frihetspenna in 2003. However she also received a negative award from Föreningen Vetenskap och Folkbilding (science and public education society) called Årets förvillare (obfuscator of the year) in 1999. The reason they gave for awarding her this prize was that they claimed she had unscientifically written favourably about healing and new age.
From 1964–1976 Eva Moberg was married to Hans Hederberg, a TV-producer, and they had a daughter together in 1966. She subsequently saw out the rest of her life with the author Gottfrid Graftström.
Eva Moberg died in 2011 and is buried at the Norra cemetery just outside Stockholm.