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Endowed Chair of Marga Klompé
International Social Responsibility

Biography

Marga Klompé (1912 — 1986) was a Dutch politician and member of the Catholic Party. She entered the House of Representatives in 1948, and in 1956, she became the first female Minister of the Netherlands. Klompé was responsible for Social Affairs from 1956 to 1963, and acted as the Minister of Culture, Recreation and Social Affairsfrom 1966 until 1971. She is mainly remembered for passing the Social Security Bill in 1963, a key reform at the time. Klompé once said that her life could be divided into three phases: education, politics and the church.

Education

After Klompé completed her study Chemistry at the University of Utrecht between 1929 and 1937, she obtained a PhD in Mathematics and Physics. From 1932 till 1949 she taught Chemistry at the Mater Dei High School for girls. However, to many of her students Klompé was more than just a teacher. Occasionally, she would invite the girls to her house to make them aware of the possibilities they had in life besides marriage.

In 1942, Klompé began to study Medicine at the University of Utrecht, but when the Second World War broke out the University was closed. During the war years, Klompé was active in the Dutch underground resistance. Unfortunately, little is known about this period in her life, however, we do know that amongst other things she cared for wounded allied soldiers and worked as a messenger.

Politics

Besides her job as a teacher, Klompé was engaged in various international organizations that dealt with human rights and peace. It is because of these activities that Carl Romme (1896-1980), a Dutch politician, noticed her and asked her to become politically active within the Netherlands. On August 12, 1948, Klompé was sworn into the House of Representatives. During that time she was also a Representative to the United Nations where she served in the Third Committee and was one of the negotiators of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Furthermore, Klompé was also the first dutch female representative in the European Parliament.

In 1956, she became the first female minister of the Netherlands when she was appointed as the Minister of Social Affairs. It was within this position that she designed the Social Security Bill. Her objective was to focus on assistance to the underprivileged as a right rather than charity. From 1966 till 1971, Klompé acted as the Minister of Culture, Recreation and Social Affairs. Two of her other major achievements as a minister were the Elderly Homes Bill, which was created to assist the ageing within the Dutch society, and the Caravan Bill which was designed to support gypsies and other people who led a nomad lifestyle.

Church

After Klompé left the political arena she began to focus on matters related to the church. She was a member of the national council for the Bishops’ Conference, President of the Papal Commission ‘Justitia et Pax’, one of the founders of the union of Catholic female graduates and the Women Catholic Volunteers Service.

The visionary Marga Klompé was reputed for her work for international human rights and justice, social welfare and international social responsibility. Klompé asked companies to consider their investments from South Africa in the early 1970s. When she was a representative to Unesco she asked for understanding for the Jewish people in Diaspora, Israel and Palestina and advocate the need for a dialogue.

Marga Klompé died on October 28, 1986, in The Hague.

Watch portrait of Marga Klompe by KRO (Dutch TV)

Profiel: Marga Klompé, Wednesday 11 Oktober 2006

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