Khadija Arib was born on 10 October 1960 in Hedami near Casablanca in Morocco. She came to the Netherlands when she was 15 years old. Arib studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam . Before her political career, she was a civil servant, educator and social worker.
Arib is a member of the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid, PvdA) and has been a Member of Parliament from 19 May 1998 to 29 November 2006 and since 1 March 2007.
As an MP, she focussed on matters of racism, discrimination control, women’s abuse, domestic violence and youth care. While in the House of Representatives, she has been fiercely criticised (mainly by members of the far-right Party for Freedom) for her dual citizenship and for her part in an advisory committee to the King of Morocco. In 2012, she made an unsuccessful attempt to become Speaker and became First Deputy Speaker instead. She was elected Speaker in an interim election on 13 January 2016, defeating three other candidates. On 29 March 2017 Arib was re-elected as Speaker, she was the only candidate for the position.
During her career, Arib has been a fighter for women’s rights and the empowerment of women with a migrant background in the Netherlands; she was a founding member and president of the Moroccan Women in the Netherlands Foundation. In 1989, she was held prisoner in Morocco with her 3 children, after publicly addressing issues concerning the position of women in Moroccan society. After intervention by the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, she was allowed to return to the Netherlands.