Betsy Bakker-Nort

Bertha "Betsy" Bakker-Nort (8 May 1874  23 May 1946) was a Dutch lawyer and politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives for the Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB) from 1922 to 1942.

Betsy Bakker-Nort
Betsy Bakker-Nort in 1922
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Bertha Nort

(1874-05-08)8 May 1874
Groningen, Netherlands
Died23 May 1946(1946-05-23) (aged 72)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Political partyVDB
EducationUniversity of Groningen
University of Utrecht

Born in Groningen, she became involved with the feminist movement in 1894, joining the Dutch Association for Women's Suffrage (VVVK), where she was mentored by Aletta Jacobs, one of the pioneering activists of the 19th century.

At age 34, Bakker-Nort started studying law at the University of Groningen after realising that fighting for women's rights required a thorough understanding of the law. In the 1922 general election, the first in which women were allowed to vote, she was elected to parliament and became the VDB's first female representative. She was re-elected four times and, during her time in the chamber, mainly argued the case for more women's rights concerning marriage and labour law. She was also active internationally, taking a leading role in preparing the International Woman Suffrage Alliance's actions for the 1930 League of Nations conference on international law. In 1933, she acted as a judge in a counter-trial in London of the arson case of the Reichstag fire.

After the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Bakker-Nort did not return to parliament. From December 1942, she was interned at Westerbork transit camp and Camp Barneveld before the Germans moved her in September 1944 to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Bohemia. She was liberated in June 1945. She died the following year. According to VDB chairman Pieter Oud, Bakker-Nort had accomplished the task Jacobs had given her: leading the women's movement.

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