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Lotta Svärd

Lotta Svärd was a Finnish voluntary auxiliary paramilitary organisation for women. Formed in 1918, it had a large membership undertaking volunteer social work in the 1920s and 1930s, it was formed to support the White Guard. During the Second World War, it mobilized to replace men conscripted into the army, it served in hospitals, at air raid warning positions, other auxiliary tasks in close cooperation with the army. The women were unarmed except for an antiaircraft battery in 1944. Virtanen argues that, their "accountability to the nation took a masculine and military form in public, but had a private, feminine side to it including features like caring and loving." The organisation was suppressed by the government after the war. The name comes from a poem by Johan Ludvig Runeberg. Part of a large and famous book, The Tales of Ensign Stål, the poem described a fictional woman named Lotta Svärd. According to the poem, a Finnish soldier, private Svärd - Swedish: svärd means a sword - went to fight in the Finnish War and took his wife, along with him.

Private Svärd was killed in battle, but his wife remained on the battlefield, taking care of wounded soldiers. The name was first brought up by Marshal Mannerheim in a speech given on 16 May 1918. During the Finnish Civil War it was associated with the White Guard. After the war Lotta Svärd was founded as a separate organisation on 9 September 1920; the first known organisation to use the name Lotta Svärd was the Lotta Svärd of Riihimäki, founded on 11 November 1918. The organisation expanded during the 1920s and it included 60,000 members in 1930. By 1944 it included 242,000 volunteers, the largest voluntary auxiliary organisation in the world, while the total population of Finland was less than four million. During the 1920s and 1930s only Christian Finnish citizens were eligible to join, two references from persons considered reliable were required; the latter requirement was ignored after the break of Winter War in 1939. Foreigners could be accepted by special permission. However, in 1940 the first Muslim and Jewish members were accepted, the first non-denominational member in 1941.

During the Winter War some 100,000 men whose jobs were taken over by "Lottas" were freed for military service. The Lottas worked in hospitals, at air-raid warning posts and other auxiliary tasks in conjunction with the armed forces; the Lottas, were unarmed. The only exception was a voluntary anti-aircraft battery in Helsinki in the summer of 1944, composed of Lotta Svärd members; the battery operated the AA search-lights. The unit was issued rifles for self-protection, thus being the only armed female military unit of the Finnish Defence Forces history; the dire need for labor led to fast recruitment and there was no time to properly train the new Lottas according to the principles of the organization. In addition, most new recruits were inexperienced; this caused some friction between the new recruits. Lotta Svärd suffered light losses, considering the number of women posted to a war zone and the length of the war. During the wars, 291 Lottas died. 66 were killed near 47 in air raids and 34 in accidents.

The fallen Lottas were buried in war heroes' graves in their home parishes. When the Continuation War ended, the Soviet Union demanded that all organisations it considered paramilitary, fascist or semi-fascist be banned. Lotta Svärd was one of the groups, disbanded, on 23 November 1944. However, a new organisation called Suomen Naisten Huoltosäätiö was started which took over much of the old property; this organisation still exists by the name of Lotta Svärd Säätiö. Since 4 January 1995 women between the ages of 18 and 29 have had the right to apply for voluntary military service in the Finnish Defence Forces and are free to apply into any form of service, granted provided they fulfill the minimum fitness and health requirements; the Finnish Lotta Svärd organisation has inspired similar organisations in other countries and there is still a Lotta Svärd organisation in Sweden. A 2005 film Lupaus describes the trials and tribulations of a number of Finnish Lottas during the Second World War. Ahlbäck, Ville Kivimäki.

"Masculinities at war: Finland 1918–1950." NORMA: Nordic Journal For Masculinity Studies 3.2: 114-131. Nevala-Nurmi, Seija-Leena. "Girls and Boys in the Finnish Voluntary Defence Movement." Ennen & nyt: 3. Ollila, Anne. "Women's voluntary associations in Finland during the 1920s and 1930s" Scandinavian Journal of History 20#2 pp: 97-107. Olsson, Pia. "To Toil and to Survive: Wartime Memories of Finnish Women," Human Affairs 12#2 pp 127–138. Virtanen, Aila. "Accountability to the nation–The Finnish Lotta Svärd organization." Online

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Eddie Bernice Johnson is an American politician from the state of Texas representing Texas's 30th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Elected in 1992, Johnson was the first registered nurse elected to Congress. At the swearing in of the 116th United States Congress, she became Dean of the Texas congressional delegation, she is a member of the Democratic Party. She served in the Texas state house, where she was elected in 1972 in a landslide, the first black woman to win electoral office from Dallas, Texas, she served for three terms in the Texas senate before being elected to Congress. Johnson worked for 16 years as Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital, being the first African American woman to hold the position. Born and raised in Waco, Johnson grew up wanting to work in medicine, she left Texas, which had segregated schools, attended Saint Mary's College in South Bend, where she received a diploma in nursing in 1956. She transferred to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, from which she received a bachelor's degree in nursing.

She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earned a Master of Public Administration in 1976. Johnson was the first African American to serve as Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital, she entered politics after 16 years in that position. After passage of civil rights legislation and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enabled African Americans in the South to register and vote, more African Americans began to run for office and be elected. In 1972, as an underdog candidate running for a seat in the Texas House, Eddie Bernice Johnson won a landslide victory, she was the first black woman elected to public office from Dallas. She soon became the first woman in Texas history to lead a major Texas House committee, the Labor Committee. Johnson left the state House in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter appointed her as the regional director for the Department of Health and Welfare, the first African-American woman to hold this position. Johnson entered electoral politics again in 1986.

She was the first woman and the first African American from the Dallas area to hold this office since Reconstruction. Her particular concerns included health care, public housing, racial equity, economic development, job expansion. Johnson served on the Finance Committee, for which she chaired the subcommittee on Health and Human Services, on the Education Committee, she wrote legislation to regulate diagnostic radiology centers, require drug testing in hospitals, prohibit discrimination against AIDS victims, improve access to health care for AIDS patients, prohibit hospital kickbacks to doctors. As a fair housing advocate, she sponsored a bill to empower city governments to repair substandard housing at the expense of landlords, wrote a bill to enforce prohibitions against housing discrimination. Johnson worked while dealing with discrimination in the legislature. "Being a woman and being black is a double handicap," she told the Chicago Tribune. "When you see who's in the important huddles, who's making the important decisions, it's men."

Johnson sponsored several bills aimed towards equity, including a bill to establish goals for the state to do business with'socially-disadvantaged' businesses. She crafted a fair housing act aimed at toughening up fair housing laws and establishing a commission to investigate complaints of discriminatory housing practices. Johnson held committee hearings and investigated complaints. In 1989, she testified in a federal court about racism in the Dallas city government. In 1992, she formally asked the Justice Department to investigate harassment of local black students; that same year, she held hearings to examine discrimination charges about unfair contracting bids for the government's Superconducting Super Collider. Johnson fears the legacy. "I am frightened to see young people who believe that a racist power structure is responsible for every negative thing that happens to them," she explained to the New York Times. "After a point it does not matter whether these perceptions are false. Midway through her second term in the state senate, Johnson opted to run in the Democratic primary for the newly created Texas's 30th congressional district.

She defeated Republican nominee Lucy Cain 72%-25% in the 1992 general election. In 1994, she defeated Lucy Cain again 73%-26%. In 1996, after her district was redrawn as a result of Bush v. Vera, she won re-election to a third term with 55% of the vote, the worst election performance of her congressional career. All of the candidates in the race appeared on a single ballot regardless of party, Johnson faced two other Democrats. Proving just how Democratic this district still was, the three Democrats tallied 73 percent of the vote among them. Johnson has never faced another contest nearly that close, she has been reelected nine more times with at least 72% of the vote. In 2012, Johnson beat two opponents in the Democratic Primary, State Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway and lawyer Taj Clayton, gaining 70% of the vote, she was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. The 17th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Johnson opposed the Iraq Resolution of 2002. During debate on the House floor, she stated: I am not convinced that giving the President the authority to launch a unilateral, first-strike attack on Iraq is the appropriate course of action at this time.

While I believe that under international law and un