Corry Tendeloo

Nancy Sophie Cornélie “Corry” Tendeloo (3 September 1897 – 18 October 1956) was a Dutch lawyer, feminist and politician who was member of the House of Representatives for the Free-thinking Democratic League (Dutch: Vrijzinnig Democratische Bond, VDB) from 1945 until 1946, and then onwards for the Labour Party (Dutch: Partij van de Arbeid, PvdA) until her death in 1956.

20th-century Dutch politician who fought for equal rights for women

Corry Tendeloo

Corry Tendeloo in 1926
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
20 November 1945  18 October 1956
Parliamentary group Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB): November 1945 — February 1946; Labour Party (PvdA): February 1946 — October 1956
Amsterdam City Council
In office
Parliamentary group VDB
Personal details
Nancy Sophie Cornélie Tendeloo

(1897-09-03)3 September 1897
Tebing Tinggi, Dutch East Indies

Died 18 October 1956(1956-10-18) (aged 59)
Wassenaar, the Netherlands
Spouse(s) not married

Born in the Dutch East Indies Tendeloo moved with her mother and siblings to the Netherlands after her father died when she was five. She studied law at Utrecht University, during which tme she made contact with people within the women’s rights movement. In the 1930s she became politically active, joining the VDB, the Association of Women with Higher Education (Dutch: Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Vrouwen met Academische Opleiding, VVAO) and the Association for Women’s Interests and Equal Citizenship (Dutch: Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Vrouwenbelangen en Gelijk Staatsburgerschap, VVGS). She became president of the VVGS’s youth committee and in 1938 became a representative for the VDB on the Amsterdam City Council.

After World War II, Tendeloo became a member of the House of Representatives for the VDB in the national emergency parliament, which was formed to rebuild the country and organise elections. When the VDB merged with other parties into the PvdA, she represented the new party until her death. During her time in parliament she had a seat on two select committees and came up for women’s rights issues during debates. She helped secure universal suffrage for the Dutch colonies Suriname and Curacao in 1948. To highlight the difference in opportunities for men and women she applied, under a pseudonym, at the tax academy in Rotterdam, which was only open to men. The following discussion in the media and parliament resulted in 1954 in the government opening up the tax academy to women as well. In early 1955 she successfully made the case for equal pay and later that year put forward a motion to abolish the labour ban on married women. This ban meant that state employers had to fire their female employees once they married. The motion passed with 46 votes in favour and 44 against and is now known as the “motion Tendeloo”. The next year she was instrumental in ending couverture, a law which labelled married women as incompetent to act on their own behalf and stopped them from performing acts such as opening a bank account, applying for a mortgage, or sign a labour agreement without the permission of their husband. Tendeloo died in October 1956, before any of the women’s rights issues she fought for became law. Largely forgotten after the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, in the 21st century efforts have been made to make her achievements more well known.

. . . Corry Tendeloo . . .

Corry Tendeloo in 1926

Nancy Sophie Cornélie Tendeloo, given name Corry,[upper-alpha 1] was born on 3 September 1897 in Tebing Tinggi, on Sumatra, part of the Dutch East Indies.[2] Her mother, Jeanne Cornélie Stamm’ler came from a well-to-do family, as did her father, a high-ranking civil servant named Henri Tendeloo.[3][4] Her father died when she was five years old, and in 1903 she moved with her mother and two siblings to the Netherlands. She went to primary school in Amersfoort and secondary school in Leiden.[5][6][7] In 1916 the family moved to Utrecht.[7] Two years later she earned an English-teaching diploma and started teaching at a local school, which she continued doing until 1921. She also became a certified English translator.[3][5][7] In 1919 she began reading law at Utrecht University, from which she graduated in 1924. As a student she made contact with people within the women’s rights movement, and she represented the Utrecht Women’s Student Association in the Dutch Women’s Council.{[3] During her student days, the women’s movement in the Netherlands was waning in prominence. The first wave of feminism in the Netherlands started in the late 19th century and involved feminists such as Aletta Jacobs and Wilhelmina Drucker, who successfully campaigned for the right of women to vote and stand for parliament. This became enshrined in law in 1919, after which a smaller number of feminists continued the fight for equality in other aspects of life.[8][9]

In 1924 Tendeloo joined a law firm and in 1927 she began to practice as an independent lawyer in Amsterdam dealing with issues concerning the legal position of women.[3][6] She also volunteered as legal advisor to people unable to pay and as such encountered cases involving women’s legal inequalities.[3] In 1928 she volunteered as secretary for the Dutch Women Club (Dutch: Nederlandsche Vrouwenclub), a position she held until 1937.[3] She was president of the housing cooperative The New House (Dutch: Het Nieuwe Huis), an appartment complex for unmarried women in Amsterdam in which she lived.[10]

. . . Corry Tendeloo . . .

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. . . Corry Tendeloo . . .

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