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Marja Bijl

Marja Bijl is a member of PES Women Executive since 2009 and has been elected Vice President of PES Women on 27 September 2012. She is a member of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and member of the board since 2007. She was President of Rotterdam region of the Dutch Labour Party between 2006 and 2010.

In the PvdA Executive, Marja Bijl has been responsible for the recruitment of future members of Parliament, and for composing the lists of candidates. At the moment her main responsibilities are diversity, the PvdA women’s organization and permanent campaigning. For over a decade PvdA did not have a proper organization. Instead, women were organized in several networks. In 2010 Marja launched a new women’s organization, making it an important stakeholder within the party. 

Women Members of the Labour Party have fought for years for the so-called ‘zipper lists’ for candidates. This system has been under debate during the last party congresses. Because of hard work and lobbying of Marja and her colleagues, the 50 percent lists have been kept. Consequently, there is an equal representation of women and men from the Labour Party in the Dutch Parliament. 

Marja also heads an NGO working with victims of trafficking. She has been working on trafficking since 1996, first as a therapist and now as a manager. In 2010 she dealt with approximately 400 women, both within and outside the shelter. She participates in many national networks and lobbies, trying to tackle this crime. She is quite well known in the Netherlands as an expert on how to work with victims of trafficking and on forming local networks addressing this issue.

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