Ingrid Norlander was a lawyer and a prominent personality within the Swedish ‘lotta’ (Swedish women’s voluntary defence) movement.
Ingrid Norlander was born in Stockholm in 1907. She was the first child born to Hedvig and Nils Appelbom. Her father, just like her stepfather Henric Richter, was a lawyer and Ingrid Norlander opted to follow in both their footsteps. Once she had gained her Master of Law at Stockholms högskola (college) in 1932 she served at the Stockholm magistrate’s court and Nyköping county court. In 1933 she became a part-owner in her suddenly-deceased stepfather’s legal firm. From 1939 onwards she ran her own lawyer’s firm in Stockholm and was active in Advokatsamfundet (the Swedish bar association).
Ingrid Norlander was also politically active within the Allmänna valmansförbundet (now known as Moderata samlingspartiet, the Moderate party), and stood as a representative for the right-wing party in Stockholm in the second parliamentary chamber election of 1926. An election pamphlet describes Ingrid Norlander – who four years earlier had married Commander Gunnar Norlander – as “Mrs, LL.B. Lawyer. Recognised as a skilled, energetic professional woman and treasured representative of gainfully-employed married women. Deputy-chair of the A.V.F Oscar parish women’s club.” The issue of married women’s rights was precisely one of the political issues which exercised Ingrid Norlander. One of her many activities involved campaigning on behalf of family-tax reforms and changes to the joint tax assessment system, which disadvantaged married women who were gainfully employed.
Ingrid Norlander was also interested in Swedish defence policies and in the spring of 1939 she was one of those who founded the Stockholm naval ‘lottakår’ (women’s voluntary defence corps), which was the first maritime section within the ‘lotta’ movement. In 1941 Ingrid Norlander became the legal consultant for the ‘lotta’ movement. She further extended her activities on behalf of this movement following the emergency preparations for the Second World War and finally relented after having several times rejected the post of president. In February 1959 Ingrid Norlander was elected head of the national ‘lotta’ organisation, as well as chair of the national association. She thereby succeeded Märta Stenbäck into the top position within the organisation. She had Louise Ulfhielm at her side, who later would succeed Ingrid Norlander as head of the national organisation. They worked together to modernise the movement, as well as society’s view of the movement. They undertook extensive recruitment and PR efforts, created a more modern and suitable uniform, and successfully demanded significantly larger state subsidies for the organisation.
Ingrid Norlander was the first professional woman to take charge of the ‘lotta’ movement. This caused consternation both internally and within the contemporary press. When she resigned from this post in 1966 she returned to fulltime legal work.
Ingrid Norlander was awarded a range of honours in recognition of her contributions within Advokatsamfundet.
Ingrid Norlander died in 1993. She is buried at the Galärvarv cemetery in Stockholm.