orn January 4, 1840 in Frederiksberg, Denmark, to Wilhelm Schlüter and Pauline Cathrine Gäthgens, Matilde Bajer was an influential women’s rights activist. Her father was trained in agriculture. Many of her siblings would leave Denmark and emigrate to Russia, Germany and the United States. She convinced her husband, Fredrick Bajer, that men and women should have an equal position in society. She knew her husband since they were young and they would have seven children named Alfred, Sigrun Elizabeth, Rangnhild, Tordis, Gunnar, and Frode. Matilde and her husband would be a very outspoken and politically educated couple. They shared each other's interests but overall their views would harm them financially because of their professions and time toward these causes. They were ahead of most of the population with less traditional and more progressive views across the board. Matilde was his assistant as he mentored her because he was internationally recognized as a pacifist, but on the matter of women’s rights the roles were reversed and Fredrick would use his influence to address issues that Matilde would bring up. He would make several reforms in the area of women’s affairs including the Act on Married Women in 1880.
In 1871, Matilde would be a cofounder of the Danish Women’s Society help in the branch of Association Internationale des Femmes. She would resign from her position later that year and would keep a low profile for about the next ten years because of her giving birth to some of her children. She reëmerged onto the scene when she joined the Danish Peace Association, which was founded by her husband in 1882. Matilde would speak about women’s issues and pacifism at her husband’s agitation journeys.
Among the many members in the Danish Peace Association, Matilde and Fredrick had radical ideas and pushed for radicalization of the association’s program. They were among the side that lost out in the push for specific programs. They would leave the association and Matilde would then found the Women’s Progressive Society in 1885. She became the first chairwoman of the society in 1886 and served in that position for the next three years. While chairwoman she supported the strike at Ruben’s Clothing factory for conflict-affected women. This strike led to an increased amount of memberships of working women. Additionally, she prepared the Social-Political School, which offered education in law, modern Danish history, ethics and psychology, in 1889, her last year as chairwoman. She remained as a board member until 1903 when the Women’s Progressive Society dissolved. Matilde and her husband continued to attend many large-scale meetings and events. She had the most contacts for Nordic and international peers amongst the Danish women pacifists. Over the next years Matilde would participate in a number of projects, events, and protests. These included pushing the mobilization of women in the army and becoming an honorary member of the pacifist youth association, Pax. Her husband would be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and receive a Half-Peace Prize which he shared with her for all of her support and help. She returned to the Danish Women’s Society in 1904 and served as chairwoman of the CPH Circuit until 1909. She remained a board member until 1917 and, after leaving, she and her husband would become honorary members. Matilde received a Gold Merit Medal in 1931.
The life of Matilde Bajer was very influential to the people of Denmark and she kept advocating for women and pacifism as core values throughout her life until she passed away in 1934.