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From 1686, the Swedish Church Law 1686 obliged every parish in the country side to provide elementary education to all children regardless of gender, usually provided by the vicar or a teacher employed by the vicarage.

In the country side, professions were regulated by custom rather than laws.

In the Civil Code of 1734, all unmarried women were defined as legal minors regardless of age, and placed under the guardianship of their closest male relative (or mother, if the mother was widowed).

Finally, an unmarried woman could be liberated from guardianship by a petition to the monarch.

The status and rights of Women in Sweden has been affected by culture, religion and social discourses such as by the strong feminist movement as well as laws, and changed several times through the history of Sweden.

During the Viking Age, women had a relatively free status in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, illustrated in the Icelandic Grágás and the Norwegian Frostating laws and Gulating laws.

Such persons were normally women: either widows, or married women whose husbands was unable to support them.

The first law to apply the same rights to all women in the entire country by national law (including Finland, then a Swedish province), was the Civil Code of 1734, which, in the question of women's status, was in place more or less unaltered until the second half of the 19th century.

There was, however, a gap between law and practice: despite the fact that unmarried women were legal minors and only widows had the right to represent themselves in court, unmarried women were still in practice allowed to give testimony, sue and represent themselves in court matters, to such a degree that a law reform granted them this right in 1686 to legalize what was already common procedure.

Widows became members with the license to practice the profession of their late spouse until remarriage: they could also be given a permit to practice some other trade.

There were also exclusively female guilds, such as that of the midwives and that of the Rower woman.

The Age of Enlightenment in many ways offered a more public role for women in Sweden, especially within the artistic professions, and women were officially recognized: Eva Ekeblad was inducted in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Ulrika Pasch in the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, and Elisabeth Olin in the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Numerous schools for girls were founded in the 18th century: in 1786, Societetsskolan, the first serious educational institution for females, was founded.

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